On Tuesday, the New Mexico Legislature convened for its regular 60-day session. While this week was mostly organizational, some preliminary actions were taken on firearm-related bills.
Two NRA-backed measures that eliminate the mid-term, two-hour refresher course for concealed handgun licensees and fingerprint requirement on renewal license applications were pre-filed before the session began: Senate Bill 118 by state Senator Steve Neville (R-Aztec) and House Bill 106 by state Representative Paul Bandy (R-Aztec). SB 118 was referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please contact committee members and urge them to support SB 118. Contact information for Committee members can be found here.
HB 106 has not yet received a committee referral, but NRA-ILA will keep you posted on its progress as well. Several other concealed carry reform measures were introduced in the Senate and House this week and we'll report on those as soon as they are assigned bill numbers.
NRA-opposed House Bill 44 was pre-filed by anti-gun State Representative Miguel Garcia (D-ABQ) and has been sent to the House Regulatory & Public Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. HB 44 seeks to criminalize non-dealer firearm transfers at gun shows and takes the first step towards 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! Please contact committee members and urge them to OPPOSE HB 44! Talking points against the measure are below and contact information for the Committee members can be found here.
Be on the lookout for alerts from NRA-ILA in the coming weeks announcing committee hearings on these measures and other gun-related legislation! You can also check here for information on Senate and House committee schedules.
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.