Hundreds rallied outside the Capitol in Santa Fe on Friday in opposition to a proposal backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to allow police to seize firearms from people deemed to be an “extreme risk” to themselves or others.

The Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act is one of the governor’s top priorities during the ongoing 30-day legislative session. Lujan Grisham and other supporters say it would make it easier to thwart mass shootings and suicides.

New Mexico would join 17 other states and the District of Columbia that have similar measures known as “red-flag” laws.

But Senate Bill 5 is likely to be one of the most contentious bills during the short budget session. Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, who is co-sponsoring the measure, has argued that the mass shooting last year at an El Paso Walmart is a prime example of why it should be enacted, and other proponents have said it could save women from domestic abusers.

But Republicans and the National Rifle Association are staunch opponents. They argue that the measure amounts to an attempt to roll back people’s Second Amendment rights. Thirty of 33 New Mexico sheriffs oppose the legislation, and a handful of sheriffs were present at the rally Friday.

Lincoln County Undersheriff Mike Wood, wearing a cowboy hat and an American flag tie, said that while he, the sheriff and the deputies in Lincoln County take domestic violence seriously, “We just don’t believe that taking firearms is the answer without due process. There’s an absolute potential for abuse.”

Also among the hundreds of demonstrators was Julian Gutierrez — a Raton resident originally from Juárez, Mexico, who became a U.S. citizen in January — who said he sees the red-flag legislation the way many at the rally do: an infringement on his rights.

“I think they’re looking at it the wrong way,” he said. “They’re punishing the law-abiding people that own guns that haven’t done anything because of a few people with mental issues and stuff like that are causing a lot of mass shootings or just regular shootings. And we’re being punished for it.”

Farmington resident Andra Stradling, who came to Santa Fe with a group of enthusiastic pro-Second Amendment women, including one holding a sign that said “SB5 KILLS WOMEN,” said she worries the legislation would endanger women.

Although the extreme risk legislation could theoretically be used to remove guns from a domestic abuser, Stradling argued that doing so is unwise.

“Without that, he can come back and kill her with whatever if he thinks she’s the one who red flagged him,” Stradling said. “What does it take to kill somebody? What do you need? Some of these are putting at-risk people who are already under duress with their partner in more serious problems.”

In full camouflage military fatigues and sunglasses, gripping her AR-15 as she surveyed the rally, Amber Goodrich, 56, said she thinks the extreme risk bill is intended to take guns away from good, law-abiding Americans. The longtime Santa Fe resident said she served in the U.S. Army during the Gulf War.

“It’s our right, in fact it’s our duty to own weapons,” Goodrich said. “I mean, they’ve already taken the cannons. They’ve already taken automatic weapons. They’re trying to take everything.

“Who’s to say that someone’s a threat? I’ve lived with guns my whole life. They save lives. Ask any sheriff who’s out here today. Ask them. They’ve saved us countless times again. Hitler took the guns. Stalin took the guns. Mao took the guns. Pol Pot took the guns. And by God, they’re not gonna take them here,” she said.

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(20) comments

Stefanie Beninato

THis is Rabbit Hole talk by those gun slingers who showed up at the Capitol. Just read about the multiple shootings this weekend...And if you are law abiding then no problem--no one is going to "take" your gun. So stop feeling and acting like you are vulnerable. This bill is to prevent anger, unstable people from having guns and harming someone. If you lose the use of a gun for a week, it is better than having someone shoot 1, 5 or 30 people. Particularly disgusting are the sheriffs who are so fixated on the 2nd amendment they forgot about their duty to uphold the laws (all of them).

DG Citizen

This is all emotion. this is what tyrants use to steal your God given rights to protect yourself and your loved ones. Long live the Constitution of the United States

Peter Neal

This could be the one issue that ensures MLG is a one term Governor.

Deborah Minor

This WAS not a NEW rally. This was sponsored by Pro-Gun Women & New Mexico Shooting Association! A real reporter would have made sure if their facts. We know that you knew better, but avoided the individual that is the founder of Pro-Gun. Weenie!

S. Ulrich

There is something seriously wrong with these gun brandishers. Collectively a profound threat to democracy and a disgrace to this country.

Charles Andreoli

Well considering that we are a Constitutional Republic and not a democracy, those folks are right on and you're lost somewhere in your liberal leftist bubble.

Khal Spencer

There is a legal definition of brandishing and you obviously don't know what it is.

Khal Spencer

Here is one explanation.

John Offersen

Gosh! These protesters are SOOOO upset! You’d think their children were being taken away! Or the Governor what threatening to cut off your appendage. LOL

William Schmitt

Looks like the dynamic between the second amendment rights crowd and the gun limits crowd has created a seismic catch 22. The proposed red flag laws want to take guns away from people who make violent threats. To the second amendment rights people this appears to be a threat so they threaten violence if anyone tries to take their guns away. Because they threaten violence, according to the laws, their guns must be taken away...catch 22. Anyone got a match?

Joseph Tafoya

What politicians should fear are issues that cut across party lines and gun confiscation does just that.

Khal Spencer

Where is the violence? I see pictures of smiling people exercising their First and Second Amendment rights. The right to assemble to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the right to keep and bear arms.

And this, obviously, is the thing we worry about. Mr. Schmitt feels like carrying a gun at a rally is violence so he would take their guns away. yep, Bill, you provided both the gasoline and the match.

I suggest a middle ground, to wit, that the two sides get together and amend this bill to provide stronger due process protections and higher standards of proof. Then pass it and have the Gov. sign it.

Elaine Summerhill

This was not an NRA rally. This was coordinated by, for & of the people, New Mexicans all who oppose this travesty of a bill that is so ripe for abuse. Nothing in the bill is about protection. If it was, why not include mental health treatment? Why not use existing laws which allow law enforcement to take someone for observation and treatment? Why remove only guns when there are other ways of killing oneself and others? Why not include confiscation of knives, machetes, booze & drugs, cars, and more? No this is all about power & control.

Joseph Tafoya

God bless these Patriots. They are the frontline against the tyranny of the leftist Democrats. Who want to destroy the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. Although many of us are members of the NRA, we the people are the NRA. Since the Democrats and the Fake News Media are one in the same (that includes the Santa Fe New Mexican), you can not trust them to write anything true about gatherings by anyone who goes against their narrative. Call your state senator and voice your displeasure with this bill. Trump in 2020.

Juan Garcia

We can’t allow NM to become another Virginia. Dona Ana county residents pushed back on this infringement last Tuesday.

Khal Spencer

Leave it to the New Mexican to mislabel this rally as an NRA rally. This was grassroots start to finish and the NRA came in as invited. I sent my own editorial in to the New Mexican which has not seen the light of day but Zac Fort's was published, thank you.

Here was mine, as posted in Los Alamos.

Dr. Michael Johnson

We said Khal, and the partisan, left wing/socialist bias of this rag's reporters shows once again. This is not journalism, just more Op/Ed reporting with a political slant and prejudice by the reporter.

paul pacheco

MLG is not a lawyer and without being a lawyer or competent advisors has not much knowledge about the 2nd amendment and that she as a government representative by the protection from our constitutions that government has the power to take away our constitutionally given right to own and bear arms is unacceptable! That is why the forefathers included it in the constitution to remind the people, "we the people" no king OR queen shall infringe upon our self given rights as citizens of a new nation!

Dr. Michael Johnson

Finally, the real American people show up to protest. Thank you!


real americans, right, left dems, liberals, conservatives, fake media, truthful media, hidden agendas, obvious agendas, nra, lefties, righties, uninvolved dummies who don't see the threat and all those who do, will ultimately recognize that sowing seeds of DOUBT, UNCERTAINTY and FEAR create the confusion and rage that will thwart any one of them seeing their goals achieved.

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