House Minority Leader Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia)
Sec. of State rejects gun control petition

A Republican-led attempt to recall a newly signed gun control law by statewide referendum hit a roadblock Thursday when the New Mexico Secretary of State denied a draft petition on grounds that it did not satisfy legal requirements.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced Thursday the proposed petition failed to meet legal requirements on five grounds.

The petition, filed March 7 by New Mexico House of Representatives Minority Leader Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia) and Minority Whip Rod Montoya (R-Farmington), seeks to repeal Senate Bill 8, which was passed and became law. The bill requires background checks between individuals for nearly all private gun sales in the state.

The law to expand background checks against a federal database of prohibited buyers has generated a backlash from county sheriffs and others who say it will be difficult to enforce and do little to address gun violence. At one point, 28 counties and municipalities in the state had passed gun sanctuary resolutions in defiance to the legislative gun control measures.

Four of the secretary’s points appeared to be minor technical matters, such as failing to submit a suggested popular name and adding a signature on a page where none was required.