Although the New Mexico Legislature will not convene its 2015 Regular Session until January 20, one lawmaker has already pre-filed a familiar, ill-conceived gun control measure.
On Friday, anti-gun state Representative Miguel Garcia (D-Albuquerque) re-introduced House Bill 44, legislation criminalizing non-dealer firearm transfers at gun shows and taking the first step toward a universal ban on private gun sales. Although similar anti-gun measures have died in previous legislative sessions, now is not the time to let our guard down!
There have been a significant number of changes in the New Mexico House of Representatives due to legislative retirements as well as results from the 2014 general election. State lawmakers are moving offices and their contact information will likely change, incoming members have yet to be sworn in, and committee assignments may not be available for several weeks. Your NRA-ILA will provide you with that information as it becomes available, as well as an update on which committees HB 44 is referred to and whether additional anti-gun proposals are introduced.
In the meantime, please spread the word about why HB 44 should be opposed to fellow gun enthusiasts, self-defense proponents, shooting clubs and sporting organizations. Urge them to sign up for FREE legislative updates from NRA-ILA during the session by clicking here. This is the easiest way to stay informed on bills affecting our Second Amendment rights in the Roundhouse.
Why You Should Oppose HB 44
- This is just the first step toward 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. A 2013 study by Syracuse University showed that gun prosecutions had hit a decade low, down 40 percent from 2004. 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.” Even though HB 44 currently contains prohibitions on the development of a state or local registry of gun buyers, supporters of the bill are likely to eventually claim the need to repeal these important protections in order to enforce its provisions.