After weeks of heated testimony, the last legislative debate on a contentious gun control bill played out with little drama Thursday night on the House floor.

But there was a moment late in the proceedings when Rep. Moe Maestas choked up with emotion.

The Albuquerque Democrat described his wife’s 41-year-old cousin, Celena Alarid, sticking a gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger.

“She went to heaven sooner rather than later,” he said.

But much of the three-hour debate over Senate Bill 5 played out like a piece of lackluster theater in which everyone knew their lines, was tired of saying them and the final scene was simple to predict.

The House voted 39-31 Thursday night to approve the so-called red-flag bill, which would allow law enforcement to petition for a court order to take away a person’s firearms. A judge could require the person to give up their guns for 10 days — an order that could be extended to one year — if probable cause is found that the person poses a threat to themselves or others.

The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has championed it as one of her key crime-fighting initiatives. She is expected to sign it into law in the next month.

The vote did not fall strictly along party lines. Seven Democrats — Harry Garcia of Grants, Raymundo Lara of Chamberino, Willie Madrid of Chaparral, Rudy Martinez of Bayard, Patricio Ruiloba of Albuquerque, Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde and Candie Sweetser of Deming — joined Republicans in opposing the bill.

Supporters say the measure would save lives in a state beset by gun violence. Opponents say it would likely have no effect on someone who is determined to take a life and that it would violate constitutional rights protected by both the Second and Fourth amendments.

The legislation — introduced by Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, and Reps. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales, and Joy Garrratt, D-Albuquerque — was among the most contentious of this legislative session.

New Mexico would join 17 states and Washington, D.C., in enacting “extreme risk protection” legislation.

Thursday’s debate, attended by about 40 members of the public, brought up much of the same argumentative back-and-forth dialogue that dominated the discussion when the bill was heard in various committees and on the Senate floor.

Republicans questioned the measure and offered a number of amendments, many of which were technical or procedural and all of which were tabled or shot down by Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in the House, 46-24.

Those Republican lawmakers cited concerns about violating the Second Amendment, questioned whether the state’s district attorneys wanted to be included in the bill under “law enforcement” personnel and did their best to prolong the debate.

Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, said the bill would do little to stop people from taking their own life because the legislation gives them 48 hours to voluntarily surrender their gun before law enforcement moves in.

“We’re leaving them in a bad place,” Rehm said.

Garratt countered that the bill would “save lives,” saying gun owners should not fear that their firearms will be seized.

“People are saying, ‘You’re taking my guns away,’ ” Garratt said. “This has nothing to do with law-abiding gun owners of New Mexico.”

She added: “We value guns in New Mexico.”

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General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(5) comments

Cynthia Juengel

What this attempt to take away your rights insane to do is just another step to enslave the people and further the AGENDA to create a dictatorship.

The feverish attempt to throw out our Constitution is obvious.

I hope the majority of people are smart enough to see the true purpose of this action.

Let the PEOPLE vote on it! Don't give those decisions to those elected officials who are supposed tut o be working FOR THE PEOPLE!

Take away our rights to protect yourself, then only government and criminals have the guns! The end result is death to protection and your rights.

Khal Spencer

All 18 (assuming the Gov. signs this one) of these state red flag/ERPO laws have been passed in the last two years. Its only a matter of time before a case is challenged and goes to an appellate court to decide issues such as standards of evidence (probable cause vs preponderance of evidence vs. clear and convincing), right to cross examine, and also whether a person has the right to counsel if being stripped of an enumerated right.

I hope that happens soon so we can settle on the ground rules rather than fight about extreme interpretations. Cato's David Kopel has offered due process guidelines** based on the Conference of Chief Justices. So far that has been largely ignored, which is my bone to pick with Brady, Giffords, Moms, et al.


kyle renfro


kyle renfro

to celebrate i am going to buy a new gun COME AND GET THEM BOYS!!!!!


kyle renfro

Sec. 1. [Supreme law of the land.]

The state of New Mexico is an inseparable part of the federal union, and the constitution of the United States is the supreme

law of the land.

Sec. 4. [Inherent rights.]

All persons are born equally free, and

have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are the rights of

enjoying and defending life and liberty, of

acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and ofseeking and obtaining safety and


Sec. 5. [Rights under Treaty of

Guadalupe Hidalgo preserved.]

The rights, privileges and immunities,

civil, political and religious guaranteed to

the people of New Mexico by the Treaty


© 2019 State of New Mexico. New Mexico Compilation Commission.

All rights reserved.

Article II – Bill of Rights

of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall be preserved


Sec. 6. [Right to bear arms.]

No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and

defense, for lawful hunting and recreational

use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality

or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms. (As

amended November 2, 1971 and November

2, 1986.)

Sec. 10. [Searches and seizures.]

The people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects, from unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any place, or seize any person

or thing, shall issue without describing the

place to be searched, or the persons or things

to be seized, nor without a written showing

of probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.

Sec. 21. [Imprisonment for debt.]

No person shall be imprisoned for debt in

any civil action.

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