Several counties in New Mexico have recently declared themselves as “Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties.” County officials say the move defends their citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms.

This comes in response to several gun-control bills pending in state legislature.

Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties currently include Quay, Union and Curry, but there could be more in the future, as 29 sheriffs in the state of New Mexico disapprove of new gun control laws. 

Quay County Sheriff Russell Shafer explained his disapproval, “The legislative house is trying to abridge those rights of New Mexico citizens along with the citizens of the United States to keep and bear arms.”

This includes House Bill 8, which would require background checks on all gun sales. 

But, Shafer explains basic gun laws already in place are still going to be enforced. “Declaring Quay County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County, That is not to get confused with being a sanctuary county to come to this county and commit mayhem, cause problems, cause violations of the other laws with a firearm that by no means does that. That’s not what we’re saying,” Shafer clarified. 

Union County Sheriff James R. Lobb explained his reservations on the new laws. “I have an issue with having to go to a dealership and do a background check before you can even trade a gun or sell a gun to your brother or your best friend. That’s my concern, that’s infringing upon our second amendment rights.”

According to Lobb, the state police, however, can still enforce the new legislation in these counties despite their declarations. Roosevelt County’s board of commissioners will be hosting a special meeting on Friday to consider a similar resolution.