Sheriff's Association: We Swore to Uphold 'Right to Bear Arms' for 'Our Citizens at All Costs'

By Michael W. Chapman | January 27, 2020 | 2:58pm EST
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

( -- In reference to the constitutional right to own firearms and a proposed "red flag" law, the New Mexico Sheriff's Association issued a statement saying new "controls on law-abiding citizens' guns" are "ill conceived," and that Americans "have the right to be armed" to "protect the republic against a corrupt and usurping government."

"Citizens have a right to bear arms and we cannot circumvent that right when they have not even committed a crime or even been accused of committing one," added the Sheriff's Association.  "We sheriffs have sworn to uphold those and other God-given rights for our citizens at all costs."

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On Jan. 8, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that three Democrats in the State Legislature would introduce a "red flag" law to supposedly reduce gun violence. 

House Bill 7, the Extreme Risk Protection Order, was introduced on Jan. 22. It says that "household members," a "law enforcement officer," or a petitioner can file a form with the court stating that someone is an imminent risk or a potential danger and the person's firearms should be taken away. 

The court then decides whether the firearms should be taken away for 15 days. If it determines the threat is real, a law enforcement officer will be allowed to remove a person's firearms and ammunition from their home. Also, after the 15 days, the court may rule that the firearms should be removed for at least one year.

As the proposed legislation states, "In determining whether to issue a one-year extreme risk firearm protection order under this section, the court shall consider all relevant information presented by the petitioner and shall also consider other relevant information, including information relating to any: (1) act or threat of violence against one's self or another, whether or not involving a firearm; (2) unlawful, reckless or negligent use, display, storage, possession or brandishing of a firearm; (3) violation of an order of protection issued pursuant to the Family Violence Protection Act, a civil harassment restraining order or a similar law in another state; (4) misuse of controlled substances or alcohol or any arrest for a criminal offense that involves controlled substances or alcohol; or (5) the recent acquisition of a firearm, ammunition or other deadly weapon."

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In addition, "a petitioner may request extension of a one-year extreme risk firearm protection order at any time within the three months before the expiration of the order."

Items posted on social media -- "all relevant information" -- apparently may be considered by the court in deciding whether a person poses an imminent threat.  

If passed, New Mexico's red flag law would go into effect on July 1, 2020. The Virginia Senate recently passed similar legislation, which is now being reviewed by the Virginia House. Seventeen other states and the District of Columbia have red flag laws. 

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In the statement from the New Mexico Sheriff's Association, signed by the chairman, Sheriff Tony Mace, it says, "The founding fathers of our republic were patriots with firearms in their hands fighting against tyranny for the freedom and liberty of which they were denied by England. Upon their victory, they formed a new and innovative government to protect their newfound freedom to include the drafting of a Constitution with accompanying Amendments to protect their rights."

"This created the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. It is an Amendment that has often been challenged and interpreted by the highest court of the land and to this day stands as an individual right for each law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms," reads the statement.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). (Getty Images)
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). (Getty Images)

"Law-abiding citizens are guaranteed the right to freely choose to arm themselves as collectors, to hunt, to compete in shooting sports and/or recreational shooting, as well as personal and home defense," says Sheriff Mace. "Most importantly, and should it become necessary, American citizens have the right to be armed to stand and protect the republic against a corrupt and usurping government once again as the original framers of the Constitution intended."

He continued, "29 out of the 33 New Mexico sheriffs agree that the rush to react to violent crime and atrocities perpetrated by disturbed and/or violent offenders by proposing controls on law-abiding citizens' guns is ill conceived and is truly a distraction to the real problems proliferating violence in our counties and in our state."

"These sheriffs encourage the full and complete enforcement of existing gun regulations and oppose any executive order or rule that further restricts the rights of law-abiding citizens to own, possess, keep and use firearms for lawful purposes," reads the statement. 


"Modern 'Red Flag Laws' deny responsible gun owners notice or a chance to defend themselves against an initial confiscation order," says Sheriff Mace. "A judge may issue the order after an uncontested hearing. In some states, the person seeking the order is held to a relatively low burden of proof and with no real consequences for false allegations."

"Citizens have a right to bear arms and we cannot circumvent that right when they have not even committed a crime or even been accused of committing one," says the Sheriff's Association. “'Shall not be infringed' is a very clear and concise component of an Amendment that our forefathers felt was important enough to be recognized immediately following freedom of speech and religion."

"We sheriffs have sworn to uphold those and other God-given rights for our citizens at all costs," the statement concludes. 

Lincoln County Sheriff Robert Shepperd said HB 7 is a "dangerous bill," reported the Ruidoso News

"We took an oath to the Constitution, not to Santa Fe or the governor," said Shepperd.  "We have a duty to follow the Constitution and this bill violates due process, because there is no hearing before the government confiscates possessions. It violates unlawful search and seizure, 4th Amendment and the 5th Amendment. Someone can have this happen to them without ever committing a criminal act."

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