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February 14, 2020 – Gene Grant and The Line opinion panel discuss Senate Bill 5, the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act, as it advances through the legislature. This emotionally charged “red flag” bill has passionate supporters and opponents. Opponents see it a violation of the second amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms.  Supporters view it as an effective way to prevent violence, mass shootings, and even suicides. The panelists also debate how the legislation has been handled during the 30-day session. (This segment is part of our #YourNMGov project, in collaboration with KUNM radio and the Santa Fe Reporter, and funded by the Thornburg Foundation and New Mexico Local News Fund.)  

NOTE: The full New Mexico House of Representatives passed SB5 after this segment was aired. It is now headed to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk, where she is expected to sign it into law. Shortly after the 39-31 vote, Lujan Grisham issued the following statement:

“This is a tremendous victory for New Mexicans’ public safety. This tool will empower law enforcement to keep our communities safer. It will minimize the plain and unacceptable risks of gun violence and suicide all across New Mexico. Lawmakers showed great courage tonight. I applaud them and am particularly grateful to Representatives Ely and Garratt for their willingness to stand up and lead on this common-sense measure. I look forward to signing it into law in short order. I look forward to continuing to invest in and support law enforcement officers and resources in our state. And I am very proud to say New Mexico is moving forward on balanced, responsible gun safety. Families in every corner of our state will benefit.” 

There was also strong reaction from Republican House Leadership. Representative Jim Townsend issued the following statement: 

“Democrat Daymon Ely (Bernalillo) admitted in debate that ‘this bill will infringe on New Mexicans constitutional rights,’ and we certainly agree. The Governor is going to be taking firearms from people who have not committed a crime, and they will be forced to prove themselves to be innocent.” 

Line Panelists:
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group PR
Sophie Martin, attorney
Edmund E. Perea, attorney and public safety analyst
Giovanna Rossi, Collective Action Strategies and The Well Woman Show (KUNM) 

For Further Reading: 
Senate approves red flag gun measureAlbuquerque Journal
Journal Poll: New Mexicans back red flag billAlbuquerque Journal
Revised ‘red flag’ legislation passes SenateSanta Fe New Mexican
County police have seized hundreds of guns with ‘red flag’ law in two years since Parkland shooting  — CNN 

House endorses broad anti-crime billAlbuquerque Journal
Public safety package taking shapeAlbuquerque Journal
Bipartisan package of public safety bills advances in House  — Santa Fe New Mexican