A fledgling red-flag gun law aimed at removing firearms from people who pose a danger to themselves or others has been applied just four times across New Mexico since it went into effect in May, records show.
The Administrative Office of the Courts confirmed Tuesday that a total of four petitions for extreme risk firearm protection orders had been filed through January in Eddy, Santa Fe, Taos and San Juan counties.
A similar law in Florida has been used thousands of times since it was enacted in response to a mass shooting in early 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, in which a gunman killed 17 people.
In New Mexico, three petitions resulted in one-year court orders for the surrender of firearms — with one order later rescinded after the firearms were sold off. A petition for one Santa Fe man to surrender his firearms was eventually rejected because threats of violence were reported by his physician. Current law allows testimony from relatives, employers and school administrators only. New Mexico’s red-flag law was approved by a Democratic-led Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in response to a mass shooting by a lone gunman at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, that killed 23 people in August 2019. Advocates for the law also hope it will address the state’s suicide epidemic. New Mexico had the nation’s highest suicide rate in 2018, and firearms were the most common means. [full article]