A New Mexico sheriff announced an investigation into an anti-gun organization for potentially buying guns illegally during a so-called “gun buyback” program
San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari announced the investigation into the New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence group about two weeks ago on what appeared to be a former campaign page for his candidacy for the sheriff’s office, “Shane Ferrari for Sheriff.”
Ferrari, who made headlines earlier this year after he shot a dog during a traffic stop, posted the announcement on Dec. 17.
“Before it comes out in the media and gets twisted one way or another, I want to inform you that I am investigating San Juan County citizens’ complaints on ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’ gun buyback program not complying with New Mexico State Law 30-7-7.1 ‘Unlawful sale of a firearm without a background check,’” he wrote.
“Reviewing the law I do not see where they are exempt from having to undergo a background check and are required to like anyone else,” he explained. “A sale is taking place (gift cards $100 and up), it is advertised as a purchase and called a ‘buy back.’”
Ferrari explained that the law allowed for so-called “buyback programs” run by law enforcement agencies, but New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence did not appear to be affiliated or working with any such agencies.
After an initial review, Ferrari concluded that it appeared the group had violated state gun laws and had perhaps not destroyed the weapons in accordance with federal guidance, either.
“I have reached out to ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’ with questions,” he wrote. “They have referred me to Attorney General Torrez. Both the San Juan County District Attorney’s Office and the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office are reviewing my assessment.”
The City of Farmington had apparently had a similar event planned, but cancelled it after citizens questioned its legality, he wrote.
“I have been informed ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’ came to town this weekend and obtained firearms,” Ferrari wrote. “I currently do not have details on how that event took place. I am also aware of photos shared by ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’ posting firearms that [may not] have been properly destroyed according to federal law and were obtained in San Juan County.”
He also noted that he did not believe that “buyback” programs reduced crime.
“Most guns purchased are junk, but the numbers look good on paper,” he wrote. “I don’t like my tax dollars being used to buy someone’s unwanted property or junk. You could have it destroyed yourself if you really don’t want it. Tax payers [sic] shouldn’t pay for it.”
“Again, I’m awaiting the District Attorney and the Attorney General’s opinion on whether ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violences’ [sic] gun buyback program is operating lawfully and if law enforcement participation is following proper disposition of abandoned/ unclaimed property,” Ferrari reiterated. “I’ll let you know.”
However, nothing further has appeared on the page regarding the investigation since Dec. 17.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence helped push for the law that it now stands accused of violating.
Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, however, told the New Mexican that the law’s intent was “never to require background checks when someone seeks to destroy their own gun,” the outlet reported.
“Ultimately, it would be up to the courts to review the specific facts and statutory language assuming there is a challenge to the law,” Wirth said in a statement cited by the New Mexican.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.