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Hundreds turn out as Doña Ana County Commission votes to oppose governor’s push for ‘red-flag’ gun law

Dona Ana County red-flag law debate
KVIA
Hundreds pack the Dona Ana County Commission meeting for public comment about red-flag laws.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- A crowd of hundreds packed the Doña Ana County Commission meeting Tuesday, with more gathered outside to voice opposition against a proposed state red-flag gun law.

Commissioners limited public comment to just ten opponents (only six spoke in favor) before voting 3-2 to oppose New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's proposal for what she calls an "extreme-risk protection order" law.

Commissioners Ramon Gonzalez, Isabella Solis and Lynn Ellins voted with the majority, while Manuel Sanchez and Shannon Reynolds dissented.

The measure, which the governor unveiled earlier this month at the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office, would allow family members or police officers to seek a court order to temporarily take weapons and ammunition away from someone who makes violent threats against either themselves or others.

During her Las Cruces visit, Lujan Grisham called the bill "a common sense productive measure that really removes extreme risk out of the equation."

One of the law's only supporters to speak at the commission meeting Tuesday agreed with the governor's assessment.

"Support a common sense resolution for a bill that might have made the trajectory of the shooter that went to Walmart, to aim at people who look just like me," said Rita Triviz, referring to the Aug. 3 massacre in El Paso.

But many other county residents rejected the notion that it is a "common sense" measure.

“What happened to our liberties as innocent until proven guilty?" asked Dolores Lucero.

“These people have mental health issues," contended David Gallus, a self-described gun owner. "What are you going to do? Take away knives, cars, baseball bats, rocks?"

Lujan Grisham has cited an urgent need for the law in New Mexico, which she said leads the nation in gun suicides and is among the tops in overall gun violence.  She noted numerous other states have such laws and that President Trump himself voiced support for 'red-flag' measures in the wake of the El Paso mass shooting.

Despite Trump's comments in favor of red-flag laws, the New Mexico political group "Cowboys for Trump" was among the pro-gun protesters outside the county building on Tuesday who said they were there to show support for Second Amendment rights.

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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