The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) has been slow to inspect licensed firearms dealers in compliance with Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s anti-gun public health order. The Department has visited only seven percent of them since September 8 out of a total of 750 federally licensed firearms retailers in the state, according to reports.
The public health order, part of Lujan Grisham’s attacks on the Second Amendment, mandates the RLD to conduct monthly inspections to ensure compliance with sales and storage laws. However, the agency, responsible for certifying and regulating over 500,000 individuals and businesses across the state, has not previously performed inspections of firearms dealers.
The inspections, referred to as “spot inspections,” have not yet led to any reports to law enforcement authorities. RLD staff members conduct observations related to state laws, including the storage of firearms and compliance with requirements for the legal transfer of firearms.
Amid these new mandates from the governor to RLD, the Department’s superintendent, Linda Trujillo, is suddenly leaving.
“After 25+ years of public service, I’m embarking on a new journey: retirement,” Trujillo said in a statement. She started in the position in 2020 and oversaw the state’s hurried legalization of recreational marijuana.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearm industry trade association, has threatened legal action against these inspections. They argue that federally licensed firearm retailers in New Mexico are heavily regulated by the ATF and subject to federal laws, making state inspections unnecessary. According to the foundation’s general counsel, New Mexico lacks statutes or regulations governing the sales and business practices of such retailers.
The foundation claims the RLD lacks legal authority to enforce federal regulations and suggests that the inspections may violate the rights of New Mexico members, warning of potential litigation to protect these rights.
The RLD maintains that its inspections are conducted under the authority of an executive order from the governor declaring a state of public emergency due to gun violence and the public health order issued by the Department of Health.
Despite the public health order already triggering a series of lawsuits, mainly related to restrictions on carrying firearms in public places, this new dispute centers on the inspection of firearms dealers, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation challenging the state’s authority to conduct such inspections and raising concerns about legal rights and regulatory authority.
Deputy Superintendent Clay Bailey will assume the role of Acting Superintendent in the interim after Trujillo’s exit.