New Mexico lawmakers are considering alternative options to block a new background check bill after a petition to repeal it was rejected by the Democratic secretary of state.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver denied Republicans’ requests to have a state-wide referendum.
“To say they don’t have the right to vote on this, to voice their opinion, is not how we’re supposed to operate,” said House Minority Leader James Townsend to the New Mexican. “People want to be included in this.”
According to Townsend, there has been a positive response to keep attempting to block the bill and support from counties that have become “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.”
Watch the President of New Mexico Sheriff’s Association explain how sanctuary cities work:
President of the New Mexico Sheriff's Association, Sheriff Tony Mace, on Gun Sanctuarieshttps://t.co/yDaXYuDyse
— Graham Ledger (@GrahamLedger) March 15, 2019
“We have had overwhelming input from Republicans, Democrats, and independents who have urged us to continue this battle,” Townsend said in an interview. “Apparently, it has hit a nerve. People want their input considered.”
House Republicans were originally attempting to use a provision in the state constitution that states “the people reserve the power to disapprove, suspend and annul any law enacted by the Legislature.” This provision has only been used three times unsuccessfully since New Mexico gained statehood.
Toulouse Oliver also claimed that this provision does not apply to “laws providing for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety.”
“This legislative history and contemporaneous public statements definitely establish [the law] bears a valid relationship to the preservation of the public peace, health or safety, and it was clearly enacted by the Legislature for those purposes,” Toulouse Oliver wrote in a letter to Townsend.
In response to the block, Townsend claimed that there will most likely be a legal challenge to the bill after Republicans meet on Friday.
If the bill goes into effect in July, it will require comprehensive background checks for the purchase of all firearms. As IJR Red has reported, critics say that legislators should focus on mental health reform and other avenues to control criminals from obtaining weapons instead of punishing law-abiding citizens.