The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Gun-control resolution tabled


February 20, 2019

PORTALES - After input from a packed courtroom of citizens urging their representatives to send a stronger message to Santa Fe, the Roosevelt County Commission on Tuesday morning tabled a "watered down" resolution opposing pending gun-control legislation.

Commissioners scheduled a meeting Friday to consider declaring the county a "Second Amendment sanctuary."

Commissioners moved their regular meeting location from the ground floor of the Roosevelt County courthouse to the upper level trial room, where the gallery pews were filled and law enforcement lined the walls for a public presence of over 100 individuals.

The public comment period lasted about an hour as one person after another stood up to express their concern with a few bills before the New Mexico Legislature proposing to limit the private transfer of firearms. The resolution before the commission that morning was identical to one the Curry County Commission passed this month, "opposing legislation that would impose rules, regulations and restrictions exceeding federal law on all private firearm transfers between individuals."

Throughout some impassioned remarks, speakers said they were concerned over a potential erosion of Second Amendment rights and supported Sheriff Malin Parker's prior recommendation of a resolution empowering law enforcement there "to not enforce any unconstitutional firearms law against any citizen," as Quay County did last week.

"It's nobody's business how many dogs I have, how many horses I have or how many guns I have," said Julie Rooney.

Other speakers acknowledged the points made by commissioners and County Manager Amber Hamilton, that either resolution was a symbolic act more than an effective legal one.

"It's not a legal process," said former county Republican Party Chairman Larry Smith. "It's an attitude process. It's a political statement, and we want that statement to be made."

Fearing the state's overreach past the federal constitution, local Republican Party Vice-President David Stone said it was the "most dangerous time I've seen in America since World War II."

A member of the county's Republican Party steering committee painted a dire picture while encouraging representatives to stick to their guns, so to speak.

"If the state decides to sue us for that (sanctuary county) resolution, let them sue," said Sharon Davis. "Do not fool yourself: our way of life, our beliefs and our rights are completely under siege."

Parker asked the commission to kill the resolution before them and hold an emergency meeting to consider the sanctuary county resolution within three days. Commissioner Tina Dixon moved to do as much, and her colleagues followed suit.

"The Second Amendment shall be cherished until the day we die," said Commissioner Dennis Lopez. "If they start taking bits and pieces, eventually they're going to want the whole pie."

Commissioner Matthew Hunton said he believed the resolution "will not change the minds of Santa Fe," but was met with applause when he proclaimed, "We do not fear the government."

The special meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday in the commission's regular chambers. The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 5.

Also at Tuesday's meeting:

• Commissioners heard a legislative update from Hamilton, who along with various commissioners has attended meetings and other portions of the session.

In addition to the gun bills, Hamilton spoke to road repair funds and a bill concerning "mandated methadone therapy," to which she remarked that "obviously this would be catastrophic to our budget."


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