The New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association is standing against the red flag bill state Democrats are trying to pass this legislative session.
The sheriffs’ were able to help defeat such legislation in 2019 and remain as opposed to it now as they were then.
The Miami Herald reports 17 states and D.C. have red flag laws, all of which allow a judge to issue an order for the confiscation of an individual’s firearms.
State Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces) is sponsoring the red flag legislation in New Mexico’s Senate. And Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is standing with Cervantes, claiming without red flag laws, “you can’t have law enforcement engage before a horrific tragedy.”
But the New Mexico Sheriff’s Association sees it otherwise. They worry the red flag legislation will violate due process rights, remove a judge’s ability to be non-partial, and create a burden on sheriff’s offices.
The Ruidoso News quotes Lincoln County Sheriff Robert Sheppard saying, “We have a duty to follow the Constitution and this bill violates due process, because there is no hearing before the government confiscates possessions. It violates unlawful search and seizure 4th Amendment and the 5th Amendment. Someone can have this happen to them without ever committing a criminal act.”
He noted the red flag law puts judge’s in a tough spot, making it hard to maintain non-partiality: “It… gives authorization for a judge to issue a search warrant. They cannot do that, because there are the triers of the facts. As a law enforcement officer, we have to go and swear to the facts to be the officiate for a search warrant. These are misdemeanor charges and you can’t get [a] search warrant for that.”
Sheppard also said the law would require sheriff’s to store confiscated firearms and ammunition, placing a burden of cost and storage space on those offices. Moreover, he said if the guns and ammo are sold, the money from the sale goes to the state rather than the sheriff, so there is no way for the sheriff to recoup the cost of storage, transport, etc.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.