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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, National News, New Mexico House » Rep. Espinoza introduces bill barring enforcement of gun laws

Rep. Espinoza introduces bill barring enforcement of gun laws

Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, introduced a bill that would bar the enforcement of federal gun laws on guns in New Mexico. It would also direct the office of the attorney general to defend any citizen who was accused of breaking laws on guns.

The Albuquerque Journal’s Dan Boyd reported on the bill yesterday.

In the piece, it appears that the bill will have a tough road.

Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, the new chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that she had not seen Espinoza’s bill but that it likely would raise significant legal questions.

“I don’t know how a state says you can’t enforce a federal law,” Chasey said. “I think secession would have to precede that, but I guess we’ll see.”

The bill was assigned to the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill is based on a Montana law that was passed in 2009. Since then, six other states have enacted the law.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wrote an open letter to Montana gun owners (pdf) that told them federal law trumps state law.

From the July 16, 2009 letter:

The Act purports to exempt personal firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition manufactured int he State, and which remain in the State, from most Federal firearms laws and regulations. However, because the At conflicts with Federal firearms laws and regulations, Federal law supersedes the Act, and all provisions of the Gun Control Act and the National Firearms Act, and their corresponding regulations, continue to apply.

The Montana law attempts to use a legal theory that the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution allows states to “nullify” federal laws that they do not agree with.

Other laws, such as the one in Ohio, have specifically cited the 10th Amendment in their attempts to make themselves exempt from gun laws.

This is a legal theory called “nullification” — which is familiar to historians who know that slaveholding states attempted to use the legal theory to nullify laws relating to the freeing of slaves.

This eventually led to the secession of southern states and the Civil War.

The thought of nullification has been an out-of-the-mainstream political theory but has increasingly been pushed by activists and even some Republican officeholders in recent years since the health care reform law passed by Congress and singed by President Barack Obama.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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8 Responses to "Rep. Espinoza introduces bill barring enforcement of gun laws"

  1. Rep. Espinosa’s bill (as reported here) obviously violates the supremacy clause, and is therefore unconstitutional. Even holding a committee hearing on the issue would be a waste of time.

    1. rongrich says:

      The Supremacy Clause only applies if Congress is acting in pursuit of its constitutionally authorized powers. Federal laws are valid and are supreme, so long as those laws were adopted in pursuance of—that is, consistent with—the Constitution

  2. Trixie says:

    Could she be any more embarrassing? NM has bigger fish to fry – like job growth and poverty and education.

    1. Dave says:

      Nothing is more important than freedom. You should go and read what happened to the Russians when they gave up their guns in 1917. Notice that the same group caused the problem there?

      This is from Ynet, an Israeli news service.,7340,L-3083,00.html

  3. Ken Ward says:

    Thank you Rep. Espinoza for trying to make our voices heard. The people will not go for anymore infringement on their rights.
    Bless you and let me know if I can help you on this issue.
    Best Regards,
    Ken Ward

  4. Ginia says:

    It is not my opinion that existing federal gun laws should be ignored but to indicate this person is moronic for suggested would call many other legislatures in to questions as well. After all is this any different from the state of Colorado ignoring federal marijuana laws? Do not confuse the question and turn it to guns are more dangerous than marijuana. This is about the discussion regarding state enforcement or lack of enforcement of federal law.

  5. No, Ginia, you’re engaging in false equivalence. Rep. Espinoza is trying to criminalize law enforcement. CO doesn’t do that with the DEA, which can still do its job because of the Supremacy Clause.

  6. dennydm says:

    Thank you Rep. Espinosa for your support! It is chilling to watch our rights being stripped daily due to ignorance, fear mongering and blatant lies. Thanks for standing. Wish I had you in my district.