Not satisfied with waiting until the 2014 session of the New Mexico Legislature – which begins in just two months – gun control advocates will be in Santa Fe to present arguments for House Bill 77 to an interim legislative committee this Friday.
As previously reported, HB 77, a gun control measure sponsored by state Representative Miguel Garcia (D-ABQ) during the 2013 Legislature, died on the last day of session. It began as a bill that would have criminalized ALL private firearms transfers – even between family and friends. After significant amendments, it ultimately targeted those sales at gun shows and similar events.
This interim legislative committee will take public comment at a hearing, which is usually limited to a few minutes per person. Although the state legislature cannot advance any legislation at this time, they can vote to “endorse” this proposal for the 2014 session. It’s critical that you attend this hearing and let your voice be heard in opposition to HB 77! Hearing details are below:
Courts, Corrections & Justice Interim Committee Meeting
Friday, November 22
State Capitol - Room 322
2:30 p.m. (public comment slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.)
If you cannot attend this hearing, please contact members of the interim committee today and express your OPPOSITION to HB 77. The list of committee members can be found here.
Why should you be concerned about HB 77?
· This is just the first step towards criminalizing ALL private transfers of firearms; in fact, as mentioned above, the introduced-version of HB 77 in the 2013 session did just that. No background check legislation will ever be “universal,” since criminals simply ignore the law.
· It’s an ineffective crime control proposal. In April of 2013, PoliceOne conducted a national survey of 15,000 active and retired law enforcement officers of all ranks and department sizes on the topics of gun & crime control. Nearly 80 percent said that a prohibition on private non-dealer transfers of firearms between individuals would not reduce violent crime.
· Current laws are not being enforced. According to a 2012 report to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 72,000 people were turned down on a gun purchase in 2010 because they didn’t clear a background check. Only 44 of those cases – or just .06 percent – were prosecuted. Existing laws are not even being enforced and proponents are calling for expanding background checks to cover private firearms transactions.
· Gun shows aren’t a source of crime guns. A U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of state prison inmates who had used or possessed firearms in the course of committing their crimes found that 79 percent acquired their firearms from “street/illegal sources” or “friends and family.” This includes theft of firearms, black market purchases of stolen firearms and straw purchases. Only 1.7 percent obtained a firearm at a gun show.
· Most importantly, because a January 2013 internal U.S. Department of Justice memorandum summarizing so-called “gun violence” prevention strategies stated that the effectiveness of universal background checks depends on “requiring gun registration.”
Again, please attend Friday’s hearing and also contact members of the interim committee today to voice your OPPOSITION to HB 77. The list of committee members can be found here.