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BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield became the latest city to announce it will not use city resources to enforce gun control laws it considers unconstitutional.

The City Council voted unanimously to declare Bloomfield a Second Amendment Preservation City. Councilor Matt Pennington voiced his support for the resolution with the vote of “hell yes.”

Bloomfield joins the cities of Farmington and Española in passing a resolution in opposition to gun control legislation.

“That we had to make that vote to me is appalling,” Pennington said at the end of the City Council meeting on Monday.

He said the council should not have to pass resolutions to protect constitutional rights.

Bloomfield resident David Gerg asked the councilors what the resolution meant. He asked if it means he can sell a gun to someone else without conducting a background check and not face prosecution.

Mayor Cynthia Atencio explained that people could still be prosecuted under state law if they sell a gun without conducting a background check, however the city will not provide resources to arrest or prosecute people under that law.

Atencio said the resolution makes a statement of support for San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari. The New Mexico Sheriffs Association has announced plans to sue the state when the laws goes into effect. The courts will then decide if the laws are constitutional.

“We can’t really do a whole lot, but we can show our support,” Atencio said.

The law requiring background checks on every gun sale will go into effect July 1. It is one of several controversial gun control measures that have been introduced this legislative session.

Atencio said in her opinion the law is unenforceable because the state cannot know who owns which guns. She said she believes it opens up the possibility for future legislation requiring gun registration, which she opposes.

The Council had previously passed a resolution in support of Aztec Police Chief Mike Heal and his efforts to get legislation passed that he believes will help enhance school safety. One of those measures is the red flag law — legislation that would allow a judge to order firearms be taken from a person who is deemed a threat to themselves or others.

In a statement during the Bloomfield City Council’s Feb. 25 meeting, Atencio said the city had concerns with the red flag laws, but supported other measures, like allowing retired police officers to serve as school security guards without losing some retirement benefits.

Atencio said she sent a letter to the New Mexico Municipal League in September after the city passed the resolution. She read the letter on Feb. 25.

“Our community is in general very conservative and I would not support any legislation that would infringe on their rights,” Atencio stated in the letter.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

 

 

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