Jal declares itself gun rights sanctuary cityCURTIS C. WYNNENEWS-SUN
JAL — The City of Jal became a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary City during the city council’s regular meeting Monday.
City Councilor Mike Orr introduced the resolution saying, “The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution means a lot to a lot of folks. It was put there for a purpose. I think the City of Jal should make a statement that we support our 2nd Amendment rights.”
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 8 into law Friday, expanding required background checks in gun sales. Several additional gun control bills are making their way through the state Legislature.
“I personally think it’s terrible. I hate to see our rights taken away from us,” Orr told the Hobbs News-Sun. “It’s not going to keep the criminal element from getting guns or knives or whatever they need to harm an individual.”
With no debate, the Jal City Council resolution passed unanimously, after which Councilor Jim Ellison asked Police Chief Mauricio Valeriano, seated in the council chamber, if he was armed. The chief responded that he was.
“It was the most stupid thing I have ever seen for the governor to not allow sheriffs into the Legislature armed,” Ellison said.
The Legislative Council voted to ban weapons of all kinds from the House of Representatives gallery during joint sessions, such as the one held for Lujan Grisham’s State of the State address on Jan. 15. But it did not consider how that ban would affect armed law enforcement officers.
Rep. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, said this led to the awkward situation of “state police disarming sheriffs. This was not the intent.”
House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, lifted the ban for law enforcement officers for the rest of the 60-day session.
Also on Monday, House Republicans delivered petitions to overturn SB 8 to the New Mexico Secretary of State. The next step in the process requires the Secretary of State to approve the petitions before they can be circulated to the public for signatures. The petitions, if signed by enough voters, would stop the new law from being implemented and put the issue on the next general election ballot.
“We are extremely grateful to all the New Mexicans who are reaching out to ask how they can help,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Jim Townsend, R-Artesia. “This bill is opposed by an overwhelming number of county leaders and also by our sheriffs. This is an attack on law-abiding New Mexicans and they deserve the opportunity to overturn this shameful law.”
Since New Mexico’s Democrats began supporting gun control legislation, 26 county commissions, including Lea County, have passed resolutions against the bills and declaring their areas “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” coun ties.
“Both Republican and Dem ocrat leaders across our state are standing up against this law,” said House Republi can Whip Rep. Rod Montoya R-Farmington. “We expect that a fair and legal review of these petitions will lead to approval.
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