Alibi V.29 No.3 • Jan 16-22, 2020

Newscity

Red Flag Laws Meet Opposition

The News Monkey

A number of sheriffs across New Mexico are speaking out against proposed “red flag” gun legislation.

The Associated Press reports that the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association says that red flag laws would undermine Constitutional protections.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have reportedly enacted some sort of red flag law that would give courts the ability to temporarily take guns away from people who are considered a threat to themselves or others. But Sierra County Sheriff Glenn Hamilton, a legislative liaison for the sheriff's association, told reporters that existing laws already give police enough power. “I would much rather just transport that person than take away one mechanism unconstitutionally and leave him with knives and explosives and anything else that will allow him to carry out his ill will,” he said. Other critics have said the laws violate citizens' protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Supporters of red flag laws say they reduce gun violence and the risk of mass shootings.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has spoken in favor of red flag laws like the one Sen. Joseph Cervantes has filed. State Republicans have said they will fight against it.

NMED Fines Air Force

The New Mexico Environment Department is fining the Air Force $1.7 million for allegedly contaminating water at a base near Clovis.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, NMED is accusing Cannon Air Force Base of dumping wastewater without a groundwater permit since April 2019 and failing to monitor potential leaks. It has been monitoring cancer-causing chemicals known as PFAs in the groundwater near Cannon Air Force base since 2018 and says the armed forces branch is continuing to discharge contaminated wastewater.

“The Air Force continues to ignore New Mexico’s environmental laws,” Environment Secretary James Kenney said in a statement. “Rather than address PFAS contamination, the Department of Defense shows no interest in helping afflicted communities and impacted natural resources.”

The state has asked that the Air Force pay the fine within 30 days and address contamination in the area.

Officials Question NM Iranian Group

New Mexico Homeland Security recently came under fire when officials asked an Iranian American cultural group if they'd seen any suspicious activities.

The Associated Press reports that the agency sent a letter to the Iranian Cultural Society of New Mexico, asking them to report any unusual activity.

In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said the request was made in an effort to curb hate crimes against the group. But ICSNM President Azadeh Mehrnoush told reporters that he thought the agency was attempting to gather information on Iranian Americans. “Why wouldn't we report something if we saw something?” said Mehrnoush. “I found it odd.”

Incidents of hate crimes and discrimination against Iranian Americans have reportedly occurred across the nation as tensions increase between the US and Iran.