Communications Coordinator Kristine Mihelcic
Santa Fe County, NM
Dear Ms. Mihelcic
Over the weekend I sent the following email to the Sheriff and the
County attorney. This morning I spoke to Ms. Gurule in the attorney's
office. She said my message had been forwarded to a county attorney but
if I wanted a response, I would have to contact the county manager. So I
am contacting you.
My question remains. I am concerned that the firearms part of ordinance
2001-1 as posted on the Rail Trail is, in my understanding, in conflict
with the state's preemption clause. Is the county enforcing this
provision? Has anyone considered this question?
I would appreciate some guidance on this matter.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Santa Fe County Ordinance 2001-1 and the New Mexico State Constitution Preemption clause
Date: 2018-08-12 14:37
Dear Sheriff Garcia or County Attorney's Office (Robin Gurule):
I'm not sure of whom to ask this, but the sign on the trailhead said to
call the Sheriff with questions or concerns. So here goes, and I'll copy
the county attorney as well.
Today I was riding my bicycle out to the Santa Fe Rail Trail for a ride
to Lamy and got to the trailhead south of Rabbit road where the Rail
Trail becomes unpaved. I saw a large sign at the trailhead fence that
said no firearms allowed. It referenced County Ordinance 2015-6.
On returning home, I looked up 2015-6 which has nothing about firearms but refers back to Ordinance 2001-1, which says in part:
"...It shall be unlawful to carry or discharge into any County park,
trail, or open space area firearms or projectile weapons or explosives
of any kind..."
But the New Mexico State Constitution says in Article II, Sec 6 "No
municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the
right to keep and bear arms."
I understand that the county can ban the discharge of a weapon due to
safety considerations but was surprised about being able to ban mere
possession on a trail because that seems to conflict with the state
constitution's preemption clause. So the bottom line, I suppose, is to
ask you whether that ordinance is being enforced, whether there is a
loophole in preemption clause of the state Constitution allowing
firearms prohibition in parks or on trails, or if no one has asked the
question yet? Since I am not a lawyer, I have no idea of the answers to
any of those questions.