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New Mexico: NRA-Backed Interstate Long Gun Sales Bill Moving to the Senate Floor!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Contact your state Senator TODAY!

Senate Bill 26, sponsored by state Senator Bill Payne (R-Albuquerque), received a “do pass” recommendation in the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday afternoon with only one dissenting vote.  This measure now moves to the Senate floor for consideration.  Please call your state Senator and urge him or her to support SB 26!  Contact information for your state Senator can be found here.

Special thanks to Attorney General Gary King (D) for sending a representative from his office to testify in support of this bill, and to Department of Public Safety Secretary Gordon Eden and Special Investigations Division Director Bill Hubbard for voicing their agency's backing of this measure. 

SB 26 would allow New Mexico residents to purchase long guns in non-contiguous states, and residents of non-contiguous states to purchase long guns in New Mexico.

Some confusion has arisen over SB 26 and its companion bill in the House, House Bill 32 by state Representative Bill Rehm (R-ABQ).  The intent and effect of these measures is to clean up New Mexico's criminal code by removing provisions that became obsolete with the passage of the federal Firearms Owners' Protection Act (FOPA) in 1986.

Originally, the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 banned interstate sales of firearms but contained an exception for long gun transactions occurring between federally licensed dealers (FFLs) and residents of contiguous states.  Such sales could occur only if “the purchaser’s State of residence permit[ted] such sale or delivery by law.”  Thus, states then passed provisions such as NMSA Section 30-7-9 specifically allowing their residents to buy long guns from FFLs in contiguous states.
 
FOPA, however, removed both the contiguous states limitation and the requirement that the purchaser’s state of residence specifically authorize the purchase.  Now, interstate sales of rifles and shotguns can occur between FFLs and residents of any state, as long as “the sale, delivery, and receipt fully comply with the legal conditions of sale in both such States.” 

Some states which had passed enabling provisions similar to NMSA Section 30-7-9 have not revised their statutes to reflect this change in federal law.  This has caused confusion among FFLs who interpret "contiguous state" provisions as prohibiting long gun sales to residents of noncontiguous states.  What used to be viewed as "permissive" in the context of the federal Gun Control Act is now viewed as "restrictive" under FOPA.

To eliminate this confusion, the best course of action is to repeal the antiquated provisions of NMSA Section 30-7-9 which conflict with federal law.  That is what SB 26 and HB 32 would accomplish if enacted into law.

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