Commissioners approve sanctuary county resolution

Roosevelt County commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring the county a Second Amendment sanctuary county during a special meeting Friday.

The new resolution says that county commissioners will defend the Second Amendment and the rights of their citizens to keep and bear arms and establishes the commission’s “support for the duly elected sheriff of Roosevelt County, New Mexico in the exercise of his sound discretion and affirms its resolve to support decisions by our sheriff to not enforce any unconstitutional firearms law against any citizen.”

Nearly 100 Roosevelt County residents attended the regular Roosevelt County Commission meeting Tuesday morning to express concerns about a “watered-down” resolution expressing that Roosevelt County officials disapprove of pending gun control legislation.

House Bill 8 and Senate Bill 8 state that individuals would be charged with a misdemeanor offense for not conducting a background check after transferring ownership of a gun, while House Bill 40 would require background checks at gun shows. House Bill 83 allows for court orders requiring people to relinquish their firearms “for some period under certain circumstances,” such as people being perceived as an extreme risk.

HB 8 passed the House and was sent to the Senate Public Affairs Committee, and SB 8 passed the Senate and was sent to House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee, while HB 40 passed through the HCPAC with a recommendation to pass the law. HB 83 was also sent to SPAC.

The Tuesday commission meeting began with Commissioner Matthew Hunton telling those gathered that “a resolution is not a law; a resolution is simply a letter of opinion that is sent on to Santa Fe, so they understand how we all feel.”

Curry and Quay counties recently passed similar resolutions expressing their disapproval with pending gun control legislation.

Many citizens attending the meeting argued that the Second Amendment was created for a reason – because people have a right to defend themselves and their homes.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Resident Julie Rooney said Tuesday that nobody ever challenges the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, or the Eighth Amendment and asked why the Second Amendment should be any different.

“It’s nobody’s business how many dogs I have, how many horses I have, or how many guns I have. It’s nobody’s business on that, certainly not the government’s, if I give one of my children an heirloom from the family,” said Julie Rooney.

Commissioners voted to table the resolution and re-address the resolution originally presented by Parker at a special meeting Friday.

At the Friday meeting, Parker told commissioners that the bill allows law enforcement to seize someone’s property without a search warrant or probable cause and “denies them their right to keep and bear arms by a simple allegation.”

“This bill is literally why the Second Amendment was written,” said Parker. “There are a lot of people in this county that will live and die by the rights they feel granted to them by our four fathers, and if one of my deputies are killed as a result of an unconstitutional action or one of my deputies kills someone as a result of enforcing an unconstitutional action, the liabilities are endless.”

Lincoln County approved both a resolution to oppose the gun control legislationand a resolution to become a Second Amendment sanctuary county earlier this week.

Hunton reminded everyone in the room that the resolution is not legally binding.

“The commission nor the sheriff has the ability to determine unconstitutionality, and I hope that we can come together if and when this law is passed, and we can prove it unconstitutional in a court of law.”

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