Red-flag gun bill advances toward decisive House floor vote

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic legislators in New Mexico pushed forward Tuesday with a red-flag gun proposal, sending the bill toward a decisive House floor vote after a final round of public comment. The Senate-approved bill would allow law enforcement to petition a court for the temporary surrender of guns by people who appear to pose a danger to themselves or others. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports the initiative, applauding people who have come forward at hearings with personal stories of hardship and suffering from gun violence. Under the bill, relatives of gun owners, employers and administrators of schools and colleges could request through a sworn affidavit the suspension of an individual’s gun-possession rights under an “extreme risk firearms protection order.” A House panel endorsed the bill on a 3-2 vote without amendments after hours of public comment and deliberation. Supporters of the bill say police need new law enforcement tools to contain suicide rates and prevent gun violence in the wake of the August 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that killed 22, and a 2017 shooting that killed two students at a high school in northwestern New Mexico. “We’ve listened to law enforcement around the state,” said bill co-sponsor Rep. Joy Garratt, D-Albuquerque. "This bill prevents a person in crisis from hurting themselves or others.” Dozens of rural sheriffs still oppose the bill, which allows for liability claims of up to $750,000 against law enforcement officials who fail to enforce the red-flag law. […]

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