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

Roosevelt declares 'sanctuary' status

Gun resolution symbolic, but sends message to governor


February 24, 2019

David Grieder

Matthew Hunton voted in favor of the sanctuary declaration while still emphasizing it was "not legally binding."

PORTALES - Commissioners were met Friday afternoon with applause from a packed courtroom after voting unanimously to declare Roosevelt County a "Second Amendment sanctuary."

The special meeting followed a request at Tuesday's regular commission meeting from Sheriff Malin Parker, who along with a similarly sizable crowd that day asked representatives to table a resolution opposing pending gun control legislation from the capital in favor of one that went further.

"There are a lot of people in this county that will live and die by their rights," Parker told commissioners in a presentation railing against "new and radical laws" before the state Legislature. He said concerns voiced in past weeks by himself and other law officers in the Rotunda seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, but that a sanctuary declaration would send a "clear and decisive message to Santa Fe and our governor that the people will not be ignored."

Parker read directly from the resolution, which concludes with an affirmation "that this board will not authorize or appropriate government funds, resources, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing law that unconstitutionally infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms."

All six commissioners supported the resolution, with Paul Grider moving to approve the document and Tina Dixon seconding. Dennis Lopez emphasized the proposed firearm bills were poised "to be a constitutional question on the federal level."

Matthew Hunton affirmed "we 100 percent support our sheriff and all of the people that work with him," while restating that the resolution was "not legally binding."

In a message Friday evening to The News, Hunton elaborated on that point.

"Today's actions signify a stand against unnecessary, duplicate, and possibly unconstitutional laws by the state," wrote the commissioner. "As far as practical impact there really is not one to the county residents or law enforcement. We cannot determine the constitutionality of a law. If and when the laws are passed I hope our citizens join others from around the state and help fight any law that is unconstitutional."

This month Quay County passed an identical sanctuary resolution, while Curry County on Feb. 8 stated its opposition to proposed legislation limiting the private transfer of firearms. Sheriffs for all three counties joined a majority of their counterparts across the state in a letter this month opposing a number of bills they say are redundant, unconstitutional or unenforceable.

The status of the bills discussed in that letter are as follows:

• Senate Bill 8, concerning firearm sale background checks, passed that chamber Feb. 14 by a vote of 22 to 20 and is scheduled for the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee (HCPAC) on Tuesday.

• House Bill 83, the "Extreme Risk Protection Order Act," passed that chamber Feb. 13 by a 39-30 vote and proceeded to the Senate Public Affairs Committee (SPAC).

• House Bill 87, concerning domestic violence and firearm possession, passed that chamber Feb. 8 by a 37-28 vote and was sent to SPAC.

• House Bill 130, concerning additional firearm crimes and penalties, was referred to HCPAC and on Feb. 13 was "reported by committee with Do Not Pass but with a Do Pass recommendation on Committee Substitution," according to the state Legislature website.


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