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Gun owners rally at the Capitol

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Jesus Saiz, from Las Vegas, carries a SKS rifle as he takes part in a gun rights rally outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe Friday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – Hundreds of Second Amendment advocates carried rifles, flags and signs Friday as they rallied outside the Roundhouse and urged lawmakers to reject a proposed red flag law.

They cheered and prayed for President Donald Trump, and booed at the mention of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other Democrats.

The rally came amid tightened security at the Capitol – where firearms, normally permitted, were prohibited in some areas, such as the galleries overlooking the House and Senate.

Stefani Lord of the advocacy group Pro-Gun Women led the rally, calling on sheriffs and others to speak to the crowd of roughly 500. As a survivor of domestic violence, she said, she understands the importance of women being able to keep firearms to protect themselves.

“Stop infringing on our rights,” she said, looking up at the Capitol. “We’re drawing a line in the sand.”

Shouts of “vote them out” surfaced repeatedly when Democrats were mentioned.

“We will put you in our political crosshairs,” said Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, founder of Cowboys for Trump.

Vera Molina, from Albuquerque, takes part in a gun rights rally outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe Friday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Some in the crowd waved American and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, and carried rifles and pistols. Some of the firearms on display were semiautomatic rifles modeled on the AR-15 and AK-47.

New Mexico lawmakers this session are considering a proposed Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act, sometimes called a red flag law. The legislation, backed by Lujan Grisham, would allow law enforcement or household members to petition a court for the temporary seizure of firearms from individuals deemed an immediate threat to themselves or others.

Supporters say it’s a sensible way to save lives, especially for family members who want to prevent a suicide death.

Opponents describe it as ripe for abuse and dangerous for law enforcement officers, who would seize the guns under a court order.

Estancia Mayor Nathan Dial, a military retiree, said he and other veterans are particularly at risk of being “red flagged” because of health care services they receive. He added that he has a “crazy ex-wife.”

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat in her first term, has made the firearms legislation a priority this session.

“This is, very simply, a tool for family members and law enforcement to protect themselves and our communities when an armed individual is making verifiable threats,” Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the governor, said Friday. “Due process is ensured; the subject of a temporary extreme-risk order has the chance to make their case before a judge.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 5, cleared the Senate Public Affairs Committee on a party-line vote Tuesday and was sent to the Judiciary Committee, where it could be heard next week.


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