Municipal Mission Creep in Las Cruces

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Whatever one’s views on the right to bear arms, gun policy is set at the state and national levels. That fact didn’t bother the Las Cruces City Council earlier this week. Four councilors, plus the mayor, voted to approve a resolution calling “on the New Mexico Legislature to enact legislation which requires comprehensive background checks for all firearm sales and which strengthens the criminal background check system for firearms in New Mexico.”

The vote isn’t likely to influence anyone in Santa Fe, but it did offer another example of local-government officials wandering into areas where they don’t belong.

“You run the police department, you run the fire department, you fix the roads, you do a lot of good things, but I don’t think national gun policy is one of them that you should be doing,” said Brad Cates, a former Reagan administration official and candidate for Doña Ana County district attorney.

It’s not like councilors don’t have more important concerns on their plate. Unemployment in the metro region is 6.7 percent, higher than it is in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and higher than the national average. As the Southern New Mexico Business Coalition’s Don Biad recently lamented: “When you combine — just to name a few issues — the bureaucratic construction permitting processes, local impact fees for developers, minimum wage increase legislation, increased county taxes and the comprehensive development plan that violates private property rights currently working its way through the County Commission, there is no reason to think businesses will want to locate to southern New Mexico. Or even stay for that matter.”

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