Local law enforcement: Gun ban unconstitutional

Local law enforcement says they could not and would not enforce a federal gun ban if passed.

"The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is just as important as the First or Fifth Amendment," said Quay County Sheriff Joel Schallert.

Schallert said he, along with the other sheriffs in state, have vowed to uphold their oath of office to support and enforce the U.S. Constitution and the laws and statutes of New Mexico.

"I would not enforce a federal ban," Schallert said. "It would be a violation of the constitution and state laws which say a citizen has the right to bear arms."

Schallert said a federal gun ban infringes on a right, which our country's forefathers fought and died to protect.

Schallert said passing legislation counter to those rights and freedoms, sends a message that those who fought and died for this great nation did so in vain.

"Once you start chipping away at the Constitution, it's only a matter of time before all of our rights are gone," Schallert said.

Congress continues to review proposed legislation aimed at curbing gun violence, some of which call for the banning assault weapons.

Schallert said anytime you propose taking away the right to own firearms from citizens, you are making them a potential victim to crime. He said while the ban may be aimed at curbing gun violence, it hurts the law-abiding citizen and gives criminals an advantage.

"In my profession, I can tell you that criminals don't obey the laws," Schallert said.

Schallert said criminals will obtain guns through illegal means and will not be inclined to follow local law let alone federal law. He said one could look at how long we have been fighting the war on drugs; criminals continue to violate those federal laws.

Schallert said escalation of crime is another factor; you tip the scales when you tell residents they can't have assault rifles while the criminals do.

If a gun ban passed, it would be difficult to enforce as in New Mexico you are not required to register fire arms, said Tucumcari Police Chief Jason Braziel.

Braziel said any enforcement of a gun ban requiring citizens to surrender weapons would have to be done by a federal agency or the military. He said the police department does not have the personnel or the right to go door-to-door asking residents if they have a banned firearm.

"It would damage the peoples trust of the military, which fights to protect their freedom," Braziel said.

Schallert said any ban on firearms should be aimed at criminals and work towards restricting their access to guns, not taking them out of the hands of law-abiding citizen.

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