Note: Public Hearing to Take Place on HB 44 on Saturday, February 7
Pro-Second Amendment Legislation Highlights
At least four NRA-backed measures which eliminate the mid-term, two-hour refresher course for concealed handgun licensees and make other key reforms to the state’s carry laws have now been filed and have received committee assignments (see below). New Mexico is the only state in the country that imposes such an unnecessary and burdensome training requirement on its license holders.
Senate Bill 118, introduced by state Senator Steve Neville (R-Aztec), eliminates the mid-term, two-hour refresher course for concealed handgun licensees and fingerprint requirement on renewal license applications.
Senate Bill 268, introduced by state Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho), eliminates the mid-term, two-hour refresher course for concealed handgun licensees, removes the category- and caliber-specific restrictions for training and licensure, extends the term of a license from four to five years and exempts active or honorably discharged military service personnel from licensure fees and firearms qualification requirements.
SB 118 and SB 268 have been referred to the Senate Public Affairs & Senate Judiciary Committees. Contact information for standing committee members can be found here. Please urge committee members to support these two bills.
House Bill 106, introduced by state Representative Paul Bandy (R-Aztec), eliminates the mid-term, two-hour refresher course for concealed handgun licensees and fingerprint requirement on renewal license applications. HB 106 has been referred to the House Regulatory and Public Affairs & the House Judiciary Committees. Contact information for standing committee members can be found here. Please urge committee members to support this important measure.
House Bill 189, introduced by state Representative Randy Crowder (R-Clovis), eliminates the mid-term, two-hour refresher course for concealed handgun licensees and extends the term of a license from four to five years. Carry licenses issued by every state bordering New Mexico are valid for a period of at least five years. HB 189 has been referred to the House Safety and Civil Affairs & the House Judiciary Committees. Contact information for standing committee members can be found here. Please urge committee members to support this important measure.
Another NRA-supported bill, Senate Bill 345, introduced by state Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-ABQ) and state Representative Nate Gentry (R-ABQ), would bring New Mexico into compliance with the federal NICS Improvement Amendments Act by providing a path to relief from disability for individuals whose disqualifying condition has been removed or no longer exists. The measure will make the state eligible for federal grant money to improve recordkeeping and reporting, and recognizes that the existing background check system’s effectiveness is tied to the quality of the data contained in it. SB 345 has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs & Senate Judiciary Committees.
Anti-Gun Measures Filed and Scheduled for Committee Action
Last week, state Senator Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) filed Senate Resolution 1 to amend Senate rules and ban the possession of firearms, except by law enforcement, in the Senate chamber, galleries, lounge, hallways and committee rooms. SR 1 has been referred to the Senate Rules & Senate Judiciary Committees. Contact information for committee members can be found here. Please call and email committee members and urge them to OPPOSE SR 1.
As we reported to you earlier, NRA-opposed House Bill 44 was pre-filed by anti-gun State Representative Miguel Garcia (D-ABQ) and referred 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!
The House Regulatory & Public Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on HB 44 on Saturday, February 7. NRA-ILA will report back to you with a specific time and room number at the State Capitol when that information becomes available. Please make plans to attend this important meeting and speak out against HB 44. Also, please continue contacting committee members and urging them to OPPOSE HB 44! Talking points against the measure are below and contact information for the Committee members can be found here.
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.