AG directs sheriffs, chiefs to enforce gun law

AG directs sheriffs, chiefs to enforce gun law

Gun Rights

Attorney General Hector Balderas addresses a joint session of the Legislature earlier this year, with Aztec High School students beside him. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal) SANTA FE — Attorney General Hector Balderas is warning sheriffs and police chiefs throughout New Mexico that they risk legal liability if they refuse to enforce the state’s new background checks law for gun sales. The legislation, which takes effect this summer, emerged as one of the most fiercely debated proposals of the 2019 session, with sheriffs and their deputies turning out in force to testify against it. Some said they simply wouldn’t enforce it even if it became law. But Balderas, a Democrat, sent a letter to every law enforcement agency in the state Thursday, warning them of a legal obligation to uphold the requirements outlined in Senate Bill 8, regardless of whether they agree with the legislation. “As law enforcement officials,” Balderas said, “we do not have the freedom to pick and choose which state laws we enforce.” His letter comes after at least 26 counties in New Mexico passed “Second Amendment sanctuary” ordinances in opposition to gun laws that were debated by state lawmakers this year. Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace, a Democrat, said Friday that law enforcement officers already have discretion in how they enforce the law. A deputy, for example, can issue a warning rather than a citation after pulling over a speeding driver, he said. Furthermore, Mace said, the letter is premature because the new law doesn’t go into […]

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