Piñon Post

NM anti-gun group knew it broke federal regulations: public info request docs.

According to documents obtained via a public records request posted by New Mexico state Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park), the anti-gun group under scrutiny for appearing to break state laws, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV), knew of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms regulations regarding the destruction of firearms the group obtained via a “buy-back.”

“A recently obtained letter from the @ATFHQ to @RawTools (to which @NMPGVNOW gave firearms) through the NM Inspection of Public Records Act clearly states that the firearms MUST be destroyed per ATF specifications in the owner’s presence,” wrote Lord.

The February 2020 letter from Michael S. Knapp, a firearms enforcement specialist at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Firearms and Explosives Industry Division Firearms Industry Programs Branch, read, “A ‘transfer’ includes any change in dominion or control of a firearm, whether temporary or permanent, commercial or noncommercial,” saying if the owner of the firearm remains with the gun while it’s destroyed, it is lawful, adding, “This analysis may change if an owner/possessor transfers a firearm and does not remain with the firearm during destruction.”

“The GCA makes it unlawful for any non-licensee to receive a firearm in their state of residence purchase or obtained outside of that state. 18 U.S.C. § 922)g73). Additionally, section 9227) generally requires a NICS background check prior to the transfer of a firearm from a Federal firearms licensee to a non-licensee,” he adds.

NMPGV, which has since blocked a great many critics, including Rep. Lord, claimed the organization obtaining firearms in exchange for cash-equivalent gift cards were not “transfers,” but the directive from Mr. Knapp of the ATF directly contradicts the group’s claim. ​​

Furthermore, the below are the only ATF-compliant ways to properly destroy a firearm:

•Use an oxy/acetylene torch (not band sawed)

•Must remove at least ¼ inch of metal per cut

•Must be made at angles and completely sever the receiver in at least 3 critical locations (specified by model)

The photographs and statements made by NMPGV show these specifications were not met in the transfers of firearms between parties surrendering their guns in the exchanges. It should be noted that NMPGV and Raw Tools do not have Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs).

Lord added in the X post, “The rules must apply to all, no matter the intentions. There must be equal treatment for everyone, or the laws and guidelines must be abolished.”

Lujan Grisham-appointed judge resigns

A Doña Ana County judge, appointed by far-left Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in February, has tendered his resignation. 

Judge Mark D. Standridge, serving as a Third Judicial District Court Judge for Division IV, officially resigned from his position, with his last day being December 15th.

Mark D. Standridge, a University of Arizona and UNM School of Law graduate, entered the legal profession by being admitted to the New Mexico Bar in 2006. 

Before his appointment as a judge, Standridge held diverse roles, including serving as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico. In that capacity, he focused on investigating and prosecuting various felony criminal cases, emphasizing civil rights and gun-related offenses.

Prior to his federal service, Standridge contributed to the legal landscape in Las Cruces, working as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Las Cruces. He also handled cases in private practices, showcasing a comprehensive legal background.

The circumstances surrounding Judge Standridge’s resignation were not detailed in the available information. His departure marks the conclusion of his tenure as a judge in the Third Judicial District Court in New Mexico.

See all the candidates appearing on NM’s 2024 presidential primary ballots

The political landscape in New Mexico is gearing up for the upcoming primary on June 4, 2024, and five candidates have been officially certified by the state’s major political parties for the presidency. The list of Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans might just surprise you. Here are all the White House contenders who will appear on New Mexico primary ballots next year (click the NEXT PAGE button below):

Leftist NM columnist angers libs by endorsing this Dem over Biden

In a surprising twist that has left many leftists fuming, Santa Fe New Mexican‘s leftist columnist Milan Simonich has ignited a firestorm by openly endorsing Michelle Obama over Joe Biden in a recent column. Simonich, known for his outspoken views, has drawn criticism from within his own ideological camp for his strong opinions on Biden.

Simonich’s column begins with a reflection on the power of a good lead, citing an infamous example from 197, where a journalist prematurely declared victory for Richard Nixon just before the Watergate scandal unfolded. Drawing a parallel to contemporary politics, Simonich suggests that the public’s tendency to forget scandals could play in favor of 45th President Donald Trump, whom the leftist media have done everything possible to besmirch.

The columnist then takes a surprising turn by expressing dissatisfaction with Joe Biden’s candidacy for a second term. At 81, Biden, according to Simonich, may not match up well against potential Republican nominees like Trump or Nikki Haley, especially in swing states crucial for an Electoral College victory.

“I had hoped Biden would end his reelection bid before Christmas Day and clear the way for the candidate who could stomp Trump. I wanted Biden to recruit and endorse Michelle Obama,” writes Simonich.

The columnist envisions a 2024 campaign with Michelle Obama at the helm, contrasting her plain-speaking style with Trump’s rambling and praising her thoughtful and reasoned approach in contrast to Trump’s affinity for Vladimir Putin. Simonich argues that Obama’s candidacy could invigorate voter participation and put more states in play for Democrats.

Simonich believes that Michelle Obama’s candidacy would be a game-changer, running on honesty and competence against Trump’s perceived vulnerabilities. He asserts that Reagan’s success in rebuilding the Republican Party post-Watergate was based on charisma and a lack of criminal history—attributes he believes make Trump vulnerable to someone like Obama.

“I had hoped Biden would end his reelection bid before Christmas Day and clear the way for the candidate who could stomp Trump. I wanted Biden to recruit and endorse Michelle Obama,” Simonich wrote.

While acknowledging the slim chances of Michelle Obama running, Simonich suggests alternative candidates if Biden were to step aside, mentioning Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey as viable options to defeat Trump.

The column concludes with a holiday wish for a president who puts the country first, leaving readers with a provocative and unexpected perspective from a typically far-left commentator.

Fmr. BernCo sheriff walks away from Dem Party, likely to challenge Heinrich

Retired Democrat Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has changed his party affiliation to Republican, according to a voter registration card provided exclusively to the Piñon Post.

Gonzales, who served two terms as sheriff for the state’s largest county, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich, who has his eyes set on the New Mexico governorship once far-left incumbent Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham finishes her second and final term, a source close to Gonzales has shared exclusively with the Post.

Born and raised in the heart of New Mexico, Gonzales developed a strong commitment to public service from an early age. He began his law enforcement career with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, steadily rising through the ranks due to his dedication, leadership, and commitment to community safety.

During his time as sheriff, Gonzales implemented several innovative initiatives aimed at enhancing public safety and building trust between law enforcement and the community. 

His focus on community-oriented policing strategies garnered praise for fostering positive relationships between officers and residents. Under his leadership, the Sheriff’s Office worked collaboratively with local organizations, schools, and businesses to address crime prevention and engage in community outreach programs.

Sheriff Gonzales demonstrated a keen understanding of the challenges facing law enforcement in the modern era. His efforts included implementing technology upgrades to enhance crime-fighting capabilities, advocating for officer training programs, and championing initiatives to address the root causes of criminal behavior. Gonzales’s commitment to transparency and accountability within the Sheriff’s Office contributed to increased public trust in law enforcement.

During Lujan Grisham’s brutal COVID-19 lockdowns, which resulted in 40% of New Mexico small businesses closing up shop, Gonzales refused to enforce her edicts, saying in 2020 that they were “turning everyday citizens into villains.”

“It is my opinion that the resources of the sheriff’s office should be focused on making our communities safe and more prosperous for everyday citizens,” he said, adding, “For that reason, we will not follow along with any orders that subvert your Constitutional rights. Therefore, my agency’s focus will continue to be public safety, apprehending actual criminals, and not harassing everyday citizens attempting to make a life for themselves and their families in Bernalillo County.”

The then-sheriff was honored at the White House by President Donald Trump in 2020 for his work on “Operation Legend,” which was a coordinated approach between law enforcement departments to aggressively investigate the most violent crimes. 

In 2021, Gonzlaes ran for Albuquerque mayor, coming up short of incumbent far-left Democrat Mayor Tim Keller. 

Now, with a potential U.S. Senate race on the horizon in 2024, the former sheriff could give Heinrich a run for his money if he decides to run. Republican Ben Luna of Otero County has already announced a run for the seat, a story broken exclusively by the Post in September. ​

NM courts chock-full of judges trained by extremist pro-abortion group

As you may have read in the news lately, the state Supreme Court recently heard arguments on a case brought forth by far-left pro-abortion Democrat Attorney General Raúl Torrez, who is suing Lea and Roosevelt counties and the cities of Hobbs and Clovis for enacting ordinances relating to business licensing for abortion facilities. The ordinances are based on the federal Comstock Act, which preempts the state from interfering in its application. However, Torrez is trying to get the high court to rule against the counties.

What New Mexicans may not know about the Court, in particular, is that its chief justice, Shannon Bacon, and Justice Julie Vargas (both appointed by pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham) are alumni of the heavily biased dark money pro-abortion group “Emerge New Mexico,” which is a pro-abortion organization that trains women and “non-binary” candidates to run for office.

The national Emerge group, “Emerge America,” wrote on a form to recruit candidates, “Are you outraged by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade? Do you want to protect abortion rights for your community? Are you ready to step forward and be the leader you’re meant to be? Then it’s time to run for office.”

During oral arguments on the county abortion ordinance case, Justice Bacon got combative and even hostile toward the attorneys representing the defendants, showing clear bias against the counties and cities before deliberations had even begun. 

The Associated Press reported, “Justices peppered the attorney general and three attorneys for local governments with questions, voicing skepticism on a variety of arguments.”

“For anyone watching or tuning in, it was difficult to learn because of the justices’ frequent interruptions,” said State Senator David Gallegos, R-Eunice, who sat through some of the hearing via the live video feed, according to the Carlsbad Current-Argus. “At times, the personal ideologies of some of the justices were evident and they even coached the attorney general and pro-abortion counsel.”

Bacon said during the hearing, “These ordinances have a chilling effect on people in the state seeking the health care they need and these entities locating in Lea County,” appearing to show her bias in ruling over the Court.

How is it that nearly half of the judges on the state’s highest court appear inherently biased against counties that passed life-affirming laws due to their affiliation with Emerge New Mexico? The other three justices on the Court were either endorsed or appointed by the fervently pro-abortion governor, which lends no question as to how they will rule on any case involving abortion access in New Mexico. 

What’s even more shocking than just the Supreme Court littered with pro-abortion extremist jurists is that seven out of the ten justices who sit on New Mexico’s Court of Appeals are graduates of Emerge, which the organization proudly touts on its website. 

The group’s graduates who sit on the Court of Appeals include Judges Jennifer Attrep (ENM ’15), Kristina Bogardus (ENM ’17), Megan Duffy (ENM ’18), Shammara Henderson (ENM ’10), Jacqueline Medina (ENM ’14), Katherine Wray (ENM ’22), and Jane Yohalem (ENM ’18). 

27 of the state Legislature’s 112 members are also graduates of the far-left pro-abortion organization, including the sponsors of 2021’s House bill to legalize abortion up-to-birth in the state. Democrat House Majority Whip Reena Szczepanski of Santa Fe, who was just elected in 2023, has risen to House leadership after being executive director for Emerge — showing the organization has clout with pulling strings to power. Three of Albuquerque’s seven school board members are Emerge alumni.

The referendum project currently challenging far-left extremist laws includes six bills seeking to be put on the ballot for a vote. Five of those six bills were sponsored by Emerge alumni. 

Four judges in the First Judicial District (Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, Los Alamos counties), 11 in the Second District (Bernalillo County), one in the Sixth (Grant, Luna, and Hidalgo counties), one in the Eighth District (Colfax, Taos, and Union counties), and one in the Thirteenth District (Cibola, Sandoval, and Valencia counties) are Emerge alumni. The group has four judges on the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, one judge on the Doña Ana County Magistrate Court, one on the Los Alamos County Municipal Court (District 32), and one on the Bernalillo County Probate Court. 

The organization is funded by the Black Lives Matter-linked “Akonadi Foundation,” the major pro-lockdown teacher’s union, the National Education Association (NEA), and Hillary Clinton’s group “Onward Together,” among others, as reported by Influence Watch.

Many of these “Emerge” judges placed on the high courts may attempt to conceal their true values by cloaking them under their black robes and lip service to following the rule of law and nothing else, but make no mistake — it looks to be impossible to get an unbiased verdict in the state’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeals with the books already cooked against anyone who does not support pro-abortion extremism and other views held by the biased “progressive” organization.

Researcher Leanna Derrick contributed to this report. 

National group hits Vasquez in new ads running over Christmas

Far-left Democrat U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez is facing a fresh wave of criticism over his failure to help clamp down on inflation and rubber stamping the Joe Biden “Bidenomics” agenda that has resulted in over 17 percent inflation and an increase in costs for everyday New Mexicans.

A new ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee appears to liken Vasquez to the Grinch, with the words “Bidenomics Ruined Christmas” next to a photo of the representative pictured in a Santa hat. 

It further reads, “Tell Gabe Vasques to stop supporting reckless government spending fueling inflation.” 

The digital ad will run throughout the New Year to New Mexicans in the Second Congressional District. 

In 2024, the Democrat faces tough competition from Republican former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, who served from 2021 to 2023. 

Herrell has all GOP U.S. House leadership endorsements, including Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana, and many high-profile congressional representatives, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio and Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky. 

Bone-chilling 911 calls reveal horror behind governor’s dark CYFD curtain

Children under the care of the state in New Mexico, lacking suitable placements, find themselves resorting to overnight stays in office buildings, a situation acknowledged by the New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD). While efforts to address this issue are underway, the reality inside these offices reveals ongoing challenges for both the children and staff awaiting a resolution. In one instance, a location is regularly summoning law enforcement for assistance with the children.

Over the past year, Roswell Police responded to the CYFD Office 120 times, as disclosed in records spanning from October 2022 to October 2023. During one incident on October 5, 2023, captured on a police sergeant’s lapel camera, frustrations were voiced about the persistent housing crisis for these children. A CYFD employee expressed the difficulty in controlling the situation, acknowledging it as a recurring problem. The recorded conversation underscored the frequency of law enforcement responses to the office.

Listen to the 911 dispatch conversations at KRQE here.

The particular incident involved two teenage girls who were likely facing a night in the office due to the shortage of foster homes in the city. However, following the police intervention prompted by an altercation, the girls ended up in juvenile detention centers instead of suitable housing.

During the intervention, an upset mother, whose parental rights were allegedly revoked using a false police report, confronted CYFD employees. The lapel footage showed the chaotic scene inside the office, with the girls running amok, uttering profanities, and impeding the CYFD staff. The situation escalated when the oldest daughter, not under state custody, was told to leave and reacted by causing disruption and assaulting a CYFD employee.

Multiple 911 calls were made, describing the chaotic scene and requesting additional officers. Dispatchers labeled the incident a ‘riot,’ prompting a substantial response from law enforcement, including on-duty officers, the Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police, fire, and paramedics.

The situation outside the office involved the older daughter and the mother being escorted out, but not without physical resistance. Inside, a conversation between the police sergeant and a CYFD employee highlighted the limitations on CYFD staff in handling such situations, emphasizing the need for law enforcement intervention.

Records since October 2022 indicate that CYFD frequently calls 911 for various issues, including children running away, damaging the office, and threatening staff. The escalating frustration of law enforcement and CYFD employees was evident, with concerns raised about the potential for a dangerous outcome if the situation persists.

Barbara Yehl, running a foster family support organization in Roswell, expressed anger at CYFD and the state for failing to ensure a safe environment for these children. She pointed out that the kids staying in the office have behavioral and mental health issues, contributing to their disruptive behavior.

CYFD’s Cabinet Secretary Designate Teresa Casados acknowledged the shortcomings of the current situation, mentioning ongoing talks to secure an alternative place for the children to sleep in Roswell. Despite efforts to provide resources and support, the thin availability of providers statewide remains a challenge.

In response to concerns about diverting police resources for these incidents, Casados emphasized that it is not solely a CYFD issue but a community problem. Trauma-informed training is being provided to CYFD staff to better handle challenging situations, and Casados encourages continued collaboration with law enforcement until a more sustainable solution is in place.

Since December 2022, CYFD reported instances of children sleeping in 19 offices across the state, with the maximum number in the Roswell office reaching four at one time during the summer. The ongoing struggle highlights the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to ensure the well-being of children in state custody.

Sheriff launches Investigation into anti-gun group’s activities

San Juan County, NM – In a bid to ensure adherence to state and federal laws governing firearm transactions, Sheriff Shane Ferrari has initiated an investigation into the activities of the “New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence” group led by far-left anti-gun activist Miranda Viscoli. 

The focus of the inquiry is centered on the group’s gun buyback program, specifically evaluating its compliance with New Mexico State Law 30-7-7.1, which pertains to the “Unlawful sale of a firearm without a background check.”

Addressing the media, Sheriff Ferrari emphasized the importance of transparency and clarified the motive behind the investigation. “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.’”

Sheriff Ferrari via the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, NM.

Sheriff Ferrari highlighted the key concern surrounding the group’s failure to undergo background checks during firearm transactions. “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. A sale is taking place (gift cards $100 and up); it is advertised as a purchase and called a ‘buy back.’”

The Sheriff delved into the nuances of the law, particularly examining the exemption for law enforcement. “Some may question the exemption ‘to law enforcement,’ meaning if we (law enforcement) purchase the gun, we don’t need a background check. This mainly covers law enforcement purchasing duty guns. There are currently law enforcement agencies using tax dollars to purchase unwanted firearms (gun buyback) under the Governor’s current health order. Those are lawful and covered as exemptions in the law.”

However, Sheriff Ferrari underscored the importance of due process, pointing out that law enforcement is required to obtain a court order for the destruction or other disposition of firearms acquired through buyback programs. “Law enforcement is required to obtain a court order for destruction or other disposition. That process takes months. If ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’ is going through law enforcement to purchase the unwanted firearms, those must remain in that law enforcement agency’s custody until they obtain a destruction order.”

Sheriff Ferrari was concerned about potential deviations from legal procedures and expressed his commitment to a thorough investigation. “Either way I look at it, the law is not being followed. I have reached out to ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’ with questions. 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 Sheriff clarified that the investigation does not extend to the City of Farmington, as they responded promptly to citizens’ concerns and canceled the event until further clarification and community engagement.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Sheriff Ferrari revealed, “I have been informed ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’ came to town this weekend and obtained firearms. 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. (Yes, I know how many times a receiver needs to be cut to be considered destroyed) I will be looking into the matter.”

Emphasizing his commitment to upholding Constitutional rights, Sheriff Ferrari concluded, “I take great pride in being born, raised, and serving a county where we value our Constitutional rights. The 2nd Amendment can be a divisive topic. 2nd Amendment violations are not the focus of this investigation. It is whether ‘New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence’ is in compliance with State and Federal Law with their gun buyback program and confirming participating law enforcement agencies are following property destruction laws.”

“As President of the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association, I will forward the outcome of this investigation to member Sheriffs for their review. Your right to possess a firearm is upheld in the 2nd Amendment. Your right to sell your property (firearm) to whom every legally can buy it is upheld in the 4th Amendment.” Sheriff Ferrari expressed reservations about gun buyback programs.” 

He added, “I do not believe gun buyback programs reduce crime. They serve as a way to get rid of unwanted firearms. There are pros and cons that are hard to balance. For example, Pro-removing unwanted firearms, Con- impact to criminal investigation. Most guns purchased are junk, but the numbers look good on paper. I don’t like my tax dollars being used to buy someone’s unwanted property or junk.”

MLG Cabinet pick who was accused of rape leaving regime

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has decided to replace her previous nominee for the head of the state Indian Affairs Department, James Mountain. Mountain, who faced protests during his short tenure, will now assume the role of a senior policy advisor for tribal affairs in the Governor’s Office. Josett D. Monette, the current deputy secretary of the agency, has been appointed as the new Cabinet secretary, as announced in a news release on Friday.

Monette, who joined the department in March and was later promoted to deputy secretary in July, brings a wealth of experience to the position. Governor Lujan Grisham expressed confidence in both Mountain and Monette, stating, “Both former secretary-designate Mountain and secretary-designate Monette are proven leaders who are dedicated to serving the nations, tribes, and pueblos of New Mexico. This administration will continue to prioritize meaningful government-to-government relations and the effective and equitable delivery of resources to tribal communities.”

James Mountain via Governor’s Office: https://www.governor.state.nm.us/our-leadership/department-of-indian-affairs/

The controversy surrounding Mountain’s nomination emerged when it was revealed that he had faced charges of rape in 2007, which were dismissed in 2010 due to insufficient evidence for a trial. Despite the dismissal, concerns were raised, including by members of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force. The governor’s office defended Mountain, emphasizing the dismissal of charges and urging respect for the judicial process.

Governor Lujan Grisham initially nominated Mountain in February, highlighting his leadership at San Ildefonso Pueblo and expertise in state and tribal relations. However, the nomination faced criticism, and questions were raised about the selection process. The governor’s office never forwarded Mountain’s nomination for a confirmation hearing, and it did not address whether input from Native American communities was sought in the selection process.

In response to the controversy, Monette, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, steps into the role with a commitment to serving Native American communities. She previously served as the New Mexico Legal Aid Native American program director and has a background in legal work for various Native entities.

While Mountain did not directly address concerns about his nomination, his daughter, Leah Mountain, defended him in a letter to state lawmakers, describing him as a devoted father. Mountain expressed gratitude for his time as Indian Affairs secretary, stating, “The governor has done nothing but uphold her promises and commitments to tribal leaders and our people.” He looks forward to continuing to serve in a new role for the administration, tribes, and New Mexico.

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