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.”
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 measure — Albuquerque Journal
Journal Poll: New Mexicans back red flag bill — Albuquerque Journal
Revised ‘red flag’ legislation passes Senate — Santa 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 bill — Albuquerque Journal
Public safety package taking shape — Albuquerque Journal
Bipartisan package of public safety bills advances in House — Santa Fe New Mexican
>>GRANT: BACK TO ROUNDHOUSE. THIS WEEK A LOT OF ATTENTION IS STILL FOCUSED ON THE SO-CALLED RED FLAG BILL. THIS MEASURE WOULD ALLOW THE JUDGE TO TAKE AWAY A PERSON’S FIREARM IF THEY ARE DETERMINED TO BE AN IMMINENT THREAT TO THEMSELVES OR OTHERS. THE MEASURE ALREADY PASSED THE FULL SENATE, IT’S FLYING THROUGH THE HOUSE THIS WEEK, BUT NOT WITHOUT A LOT OF GNASHING OF TEETH ESPECIALLY BY REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS. THEY HAVE EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION WITH HOW THEY PERCEIVE THE BILL AS BEING RUSHED THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. JOINING US TO DISCUSS THOSE CONCERNS ARE LINE PANELIST STARTING WITH REGULAR LOCAL ATTORNEY SOPHIE MARTIN. ANOTHER REGULAR BACK WITH US, THIS WEEK IS TOM GARRITY OF THE GARRITY GROUP PR. GIOVANNA ROSSI IS ALSO WITH US. SHE IS PRESIDENT AND OWNER OF COLLECTIVE ACTION STRATEGIES AND HOSTS THE WELL WOMAN SHOW ON KUNM RADIO. AND WELCOME BACK ED PEREA, A LAWYER AND PUBLIC SAFETY ANALYST. GREAT TO HAVE YOU ALL HERE. THIS BILL, SENATE BILL 5, AN EMOTIONALLY-CHARGED PROPOSAL IS AN EFFECTIVE TOOL TO PREVENT VIOLENCE IN EVEN SUICIDES, BUT OPPONENTS SEE IT AS A VIOLATION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT. PURE AND SIMPLE. 30 OF THE 33 SHERIFFS HAVE ALREADY COME OUT AGAINST IT, BUT THE IDEA OF THE BILL IS ONLY PART OF THE CONTROVERSY. ALSO AT ISSUE IS HOW THE MEASURE HAS BEEN HANDLED BY THE LEGISLATURE. IT PASSED THROUGH THE SENATE LAST WEEK, GIVEN ONLY ONE COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENT IN THE HOUSE AND APPEARS TO BE ON THE FAST TRUCK TO BECOMING LAW. SOPHIE, AS WE TAPE THIS, WE KNOW IT IS ON THE DOCKET FOR THE HOUSE FLOOR LATER TODAY OR TONIGHT.
>>MARTIN: YOU MAY BE WATCHING THIS AND, LIKE, YEAH, THIS IS ALREADY DONE.
>>GRANT: AND HOUSE SPEAKER ASSIGNED THE BILL TO THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, NOT JUDICIARY BECAUSE HE SAID THE HOUSE PASSED THE BILL LAST YEAR. INTERESTED IN THAT PARTICULAR POINT ABOUT JUDICIARY NOT HAVING A CUT AT THIS, EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE LOTS OF AMENDMENTS THAT MAKE IT FAR DIFFERENT FROM THE BILL LAST YEAR. WHAT IS YOUR SENSE?
>>MARTIN: THERE ARE AMENDMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE AND SOME OF THEM FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT BUT I THINK THAT THE DECISION TO ONLY REFER TO ONE COMMITTEE REALLY REFLECTS CONFIDENCE ON THE PART OF THE DEMOCRATIC HOUSE MEMBERS AND LEADERSHIP THAT IT WILL GO THROUGH. I MEAN, I THINK, YOU KNOW, AND THAT THEY WANT IT TO. TYPICALLY THE KIND OF GAMES WE SEE IF YOU DON’T WANT A BILL TO GO THROUGH, YOU ASSIGN IT TO MANY, MANY COMMITTEES. BUT HERE TIME IS SHORT, THERE APPEARS TO BE CONSENSUS THAT THE HOUSE WILL VOTE TO APPROVE THIS. DAYMON ELY, FOR INSTANCE, HAS COME OUT AND SAID HE THINKS IT IS GOING TO PASS THROUGH QUICKLY AND THAT THERE IS NOT GOING TO BE A LOT OF CONCERN, AT LEAST ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE ABOUT TRYING TO MAKE ADDITIONAL CHANGES. HE SAID WE EXPECT IT TO PASS AS IS SO THERE DOESN’T NEED TO BE RECONCILIATION. ALL OF THAT IS TO SAY WE HAVE HAD SURPRISES FROM THE LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR, YOU KNOW, THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM WAS THAT CANNABIS WOULD GO THROUGH AND IT IS TABLED, SOCIAL SECURITY RELEASING THE TAX ON SOCIAL SECURITY WOULD GO THROUGH, THAT HASN’T HAPPENED. BUT AT LEAST AT THIS POINT, THERE IS A LOT OF CONFIDENCE THAT THIS RED FLAG BILL IS A GO.
>>GRANT: I HEAR SOPHIE’S POINT AND A LOT OF FOLKS WOULD AGREE WITH THAT IF YOU’RE ON THE SIDE OF PASSING THIS LAW, BUT SOMETHING SEEMS TO COME UP SHORT PEOPLE OPPOSED TO THIS PARTICULARLY OF PUBLIC TESTIMONY WAS RATHER LIMITED, YOU KNOW, IT JUST DIDN’T FEEL LIKE A FULL AND UNFETTERED HEARING FOR THIS THING HAS HAPPENED TO THIS SO FAR.
>>GARRITY: IT APPEARS WHEN THE BILL WAS OVER IN THE SENATE AND BEING HEARD FIRST AT PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND THEN WHEN IT WAS INTRODUCED, THEY USED THE ENTIRE SENATE CHAMBER FOR PEOPLE TO PROVIDE THAT FEEDBACK AND INPUT AND IT SEEMS AS IF THAT WAS TWO BITES OF THE APPLE WERE OVER IN THE SENATE. ONCE IT MOVED OVER TO THE HOUSE, IT WAS, YOU KNOW WHAT, OUR FOCUS IS GETTING THIS DONE. AND AS A RESULT, I THINK IT WAS AT THE EXPENSE OF PUBLIC INPUT. THAT IS THE ONE GREAT CHALLENGE THAT THE LEGISLATORS HAVE IN THE 30-DAY SESSION. HOW DO YOU PROVIDE INPUT THROUGH THE COMMITTEE PROCESS THROUGH ALSO, BY PROVIDING A TRUE DEBATE AMONG REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ON THE BILL. BUT INSTEAD WE HAVE SEEN IS A COUPLE OF COMMITTEES, INCLUDING JUDICIARY, WE JUST HAD ONE, AND IT IS BASICALLY NOW BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR. I THINK IT IS MORE OF A SIGN OF PARTISANSHIP AS OPPOSED TO MAKING SURE THAT THE BEST BILL GETS THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE.
>>GRANT: YOUR THOUGHT ON THIS. AGAIN, A LOT OF ISSUES AT STAKE HERE AND TAKE THE SIDE HERE FOR DEVIL’S ADVOCATE FOR THE SHERIFFS. IT SEEMS TO ME THE SHERIFFS DIDN’T GET A FAIR FULL HEARING HERE. JUST DIDN’T FEEL IN MY GUT THEY WERE REALLY HEARD HERE, MAYBE ON PURPOSE.
>>PEREA: I AGREE WITH TOM, THIS BILL IS LOOKING MORE PARTISAN LIKE. THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE. AND I GET IT. I UNDERSTAND THE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE VIOLENCE AND THESE MASS SHOOTINGS THAT WE HAVE SEEN ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND LOCAL NEIGHBORHOODS BUT WE WANT TO BE CAREFUL WE DON’T PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE. WE NEED TO TAKE OUR TIME AND THINK THIS THING THROUGH. THERE ARE A LOT OF GAPS THAT STILL REMAIN AS FAR AS THE BILL IS CONCERNED. SAFEGUARDS THAT NEED TO BE PUT IN PLACE. WE REALLY CAN’T PLAY AROUND WITH OUR CONSTITUTION. THERE IS A SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT AND I GET IT, BUT THERE IS SOME THINGS THAT MAYBE WE CAN DO TO ASSURE THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS PROTECTED. COME UP WITH REASONABLE LAWS THAT ARE GOING TO ENSURE INCREASED SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITY. I DON’T THINK THE BILL IN ITS PRESENT FORM IS THERE YET. I THINK THERE HAS TO BE MORE THOUGHT THAT GOES INTO IT. THERE IS SOME LIABILITY ISSUES. A JUDGE COULD MAKE A DECISION TO REMOVE A GUN, THE COURTS AND JUDGES ARE IMMUNE FROM LIABILITY. LAW ENFORCEMENT ISN’T. HOW IS LAW ENFORCEMENT GOING TO APPROACH THESE SITUATIONS WHERE THEY KNOW IF THEY MAKE THE WRONG DECISION, THEY MAY BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES AND SO THAT IS –
>>GRANT: CAN THAT BE HASHED OUT ON THE FLOOR HEARING ON THE HOUSE SIDE TODAY? THAT LIABILITY ISSUE SEEMS LIKE A VERY IMPORTANT DEAL FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. I CAN SEE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF SHERIFFS GOING, YOU KNOW WHAT, I AM JUST NOT GOING TO TOUCH THIS THING. SEEMS OBVIOUS.
>>PEREA: LIABILITY IS ONE PIECE AND THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE THOUGHT THROUGH. CURRENTLY MOST LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER ALREADY HAVE TOOLS TO DEAL WITH THESE TYPES OF SITUATIONS. OFTEN IF THEY ARE ON SITE AND THEY ARE DEALING WITH POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SITUATION INVOLVING A FIREARM WITH SOMEONE WHO IS THREATENING USE OF THE FIREARM, IN SOME CASES THAT FIREARM CAN ALREADY BE REMOVED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AT THAT MOMENT AND PUT INTO SAFE KEEPING TO PROTECT THAT INDIVIDUAL. LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS AND DECADES AND HANDLE IT WITHOUT THE LAW BUT ONCE YOU PUT A LAW IN PLACE YOU WANT TO BE CAREFUL AND MAKE SURE THERE ARE CLEAR SAFEGUARDS. THERE SO MUCH MORE TO TALK ABOUT ON THIS ISSUE BECAUSE I AM NOT EVEN SURE THERE IS A STRONG CORRELATION BETWEEN THIS RED FLAG BILL AND THE POTENTIAL VIOLENCE. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE STUDY OF THAT.
>>GRANT: 17 STATES, INCLUDING DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PASSED RED FLAG LAWS. POLLING HERE IN NEW MEXICO, VERY FIRMLY IN FAVOR OF RED FLAG LAWS. SO, AT THE END OF THE DAY, DOES THE PROCESS STUFF REALLY MATTER?
>>ROSSI: LISTENING TO THE COMMENTS, WE WANT TO CREATE A GOOD PUBLIC POLICY, YOU KNOW. AT THE SAME TIME, WE HAVE SEEN THIS BILL IN 17 OTHER STATES AND DC AND WE HAVE SEEN BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN OTHER STATES. SO THE IDEA THAT THIS IS JUST A PARTISAN ISSUE IS REALLY UNIQUE TO NEW MEXICO. BECAUSE WE HAVE SEEN BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN OTHER AREAS. SO, I DON’T THINK THAT WE NEED TO WORRY SO MUCH ABOUT WAITING AND TAKING MORE TIME AND ALL THAT. WE HAVE TAKEN A LOT OF TIME ALREADY. AND WE HAVE SEEN MORE AND MORE GUN VIOLENCE. NOW, IS THIS BILL THE ANSWER TO GUN VIOLENCE, NO. RIGHT? IT IS MAKING A STATEMENT. IT IS MAKING MAYBE A DIFFERENCE. BUT, FOR SURE IT IS MAKING A STATEMENT ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE NEED TO DO SOMETHING. I THINK THERE ARE DEEPER ISSUES AS WAS BROUGHT UP AND THOSE ISSUES REALLY NEED TO BE LOOKED AT. SO, YOU KNOW, WE CAN LOOK AT THIS KIND OF BAND-AID APPROACH THAT IS VERY CONTROVERSIAL AND/OR WE COULD SEE SOMETHING REALLY BOLD AND LOOK AT SOME OF THE ROOT CAUSES OF GUN VIOLENCE AND LOOK AT WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE DOING THIS AND WHAT ARE THEIR NEEDS? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
>>GRANT: THAT WAS A BIG PART OF THE DEBATE, YOU COULD SEE PEOPLE HINTING AT THAT OR TRYING TO GET THAT INTO THE CONVERSATION THAT IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE THIS WORK, YOU HAVE GOT TO MAKE IT MORE HOLISTIC AND BRING IN THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES INTO THIS.
>>ROSSI: THERE IS THAT BUT THERE IS STARTING SOMEWHERE, RIGHT? WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO, AGAIN, TO KIND OF MAKE A STATEMENT, TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THIS IS IMPORTANT. AND SO I THINK FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE, IT IS, YOU KNOW, WHETHER OR NOT IT DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT NEEDS TO DO, IT IS MAKING A STATEMENT THAT PEOPLE REALLY NEED TO SEE IN TERMS OF ADDRESSING GUN VIOLENCE.
>>GRANT: INTERESTING, JUST FOR PERSPECTIVE, WE DID HAVE BACKGROUND CHECKS PASSED, RECENTLY WENT INTO EFFECT, THE WORLD DIDN’T FALL APART, A HOLE DIDN’T OPEN AND WE DIDN’T FALL IN. SEEMED TO HAVE BEEN OKAY. SEE WHAT HAPPENS WITH THIS, ESPECIALLY IN THE HOUSE. THAT IS ALL THE TIME WE HAVE FOR THAT TOPIC. STILL TO COME, WE DIVE INTO THE PROPOSED CHANGES WITHIN THE CYFD.