As the national government debates possible federal gun restrictions, 29 members of the New Mexico Sheriffs Association, including Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon, met at the state Capitol Thursday to declare their support of the Second Amendment.
Coon said his office has been bombarded with letters, emails, phone calls and faxes from residents asking if he would follow orders from the federal government to take guns from owners, if such legislation should pass.
On the issue of gun control, Coon said he and other members of the association will honor their oath of office to “support the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution and laws of the state of New Mexico.”
“This office, in no way, is going to come after anyone’s guns,” he said. “We are not coming after anyone’s firearms or doing anything that goes against the Second Amendment.”
In recent months, gun control has become a hot topic of national discussion due to mass shootings around the country.
President Barack Obama has proposed that Congress adopt new federal gun restrictions, such as requiring background checks for all gun purchases, banning some assault-style weapons and banning ammunition clips that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Wednesday, Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, introduced a controversial bill that would make it a third-degree felony for any government official or firearm dealer to enforce federal gun laws in the state of New Mexico.
Regardless of how legislators vote, Coon said the Chaves County Sheriff’s Department will not take guns from legitimate gun owners, but will seize firearms used criminally.
Coon, who also is a gun owner, said he “owes it to the residents we protect” to honor his oath.
“They had the faith to vote me in and I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and the constitution and laws of New Mexico and that’s what I’m going to do for the next two years,” he said.