Inspection of Public Records requests filed with sheriffs to determine origins of declaration
Washington, D.C., March 27, 2019 — Following the passage and introduction of multiple gun violence prevention laws in New Mexico, 29 out of 34 sheriffs in the state signed a declaration that they would refuse to enforce those laws in their communities. In response, Brady’s Legal team today filed Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) requests with 25 of the identified offices, requesting all communications related to the declaration, including any with representatives from the gun industry or gun rights organizations.
Brady president Kris Brown stated,
“Our law enforcement officers are our nation’s front line defenders of the law. If they are are refusing to enforce the law, they are refusing to stand in defense of public safety, and the American people deserve answers about what led them to that decision. These are common-sense safety laws that were enacted by a state legislature elected by the people of New Mexico. These sheriffs have a responsibility to protect their communities, not put them at risk by failing to enforce the law.”
The declaration, which was signed on February 5, 2019, indicates opposition to the following bills:
- Senate Bill 8, which expands background checks to cover most gun sales and was signed into law;
- Senate Bill 328 (referred to in the declaration as its earlier version House Bill 87), which would block people subject to a protection order in a domestic abuse case from possession guns and is awaiting the governor’s signature;
- House Bill 83, which would enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders in the state and is currently under consideration in the state Senate Judiciary Committee; and
- House Bill 130, which would strengthen safe storage laws in the state and is currently under consideration in the State Legislature.
After signing SB 8 into law, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham publicly criticized those that signed the declaration, referring to them as “rogue sheriffs throwing a childish pity-party.”
Brady VP of Legal Jonathan Lowy added,
“We elect our representatives to enact law, and our local law enforcement is there to see that the law is carried out. Not the other way around. If the New Mexico sheriffs who signed onto this declaration have a different point of view, their communities deserve to know why.”
The letter sent to the respective sheriffs’ offices requests, among other points:
- All communications between the individual sheriffs and any representative of the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association related to the declaration;
- All communications between the individual sheriffs and any representatives from the gun industry or gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association, the Gun Owners of America, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and any firearms manufacturers, importers, distributors, or dealers;
- Any materials regarding legal analysis of the Second Amendment or state analogues that led the sheriffs to conclude the respective bills were unconstitutional or otherwise unenforceable;
- Any materials regarding the sheriffs to conclude they are legally permitted to determine the laws’ constitutionality and that they are able to decline to enforce the laws; and
- Any draft local policies or guidelines for their counties should each the bills be signed into law.
Per IPRA requirements, each sheriff’s office has 15 working days to produce the documents in question.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.