On Tuesday, the Las Cruces City Council adopted Resolution No. 17-006, calling on the New Mexico Legislature to pass so-called “universal” background check legislation for all firearm sales, excluding those to immediate family members, when it convenes in 2017. Although this is simply an advisory resolution that has no force and effect of law, a majority of your local elected officials are now on record in support of criminalizing nearly all private transfers of firearms – a key centerpiece of the Bloomberg/Obama gun control agenda. This, in spite of the fact that opponents outnumbered supporters of the proposal by more than 5 to 1 at yesterday’s council meeting. Thank you to everyone who showed up for this mid-day hearing on the heels of a holiday weekend to voice their opposition to this misguided and ineffective measure.
After a motion by Mayor Pro Tempore Greg Smith to table the resolution for further vetting and to examine additional crime control measures failed on a close 3-4 vote, the Council adopted the measure on a 5-1 vote, with Smith abstaining. Councilmember Ceil Levatino was the lone “no” vote on the resolution and spoke eloquently against it. She has also refused to allow Mayor Ken Miyagishima to falsely portray this as a measure that only targeted gun show sales. The resolution, as adopted, calls for legislation requiring government-run background checks on ALL firearms sales, with narrow exclusions for immediate family.
No background check legislation will ever be “universal” since criminals will simply ignore the law. Further, no such proposal can be enforceable without universal gun registration. If this restriction on your rights is enacted by the Legislature in 2017, gun control advocates will simply check this scheme off their list and march on toward gun bans and magazine limits – just like they did in Colorado.
Let the Mayor and your City Councilmembers know how disappointed you are with their actions. Be sure to thank Councilmember Levatino for strongly standing up for your rights. Contact information for Mayor Miyagishima and City Council Members can be found here.
Also, please let members of your Dona Ana County state legislative delegation know that the City Council doesn’t speak for you! To find out who your lawmaker is, click here. Feel free to use some of the talking points below when communicating with your state lawmakers.
Why You Should Oppose Resolution 17-006
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 70,000 people were turned down for a gun purchase in 2010 because they didn’t clear a background check. Only 62 of those cases -- or just 0.85% -- were prosecuted. Existing laws are not even being enforced and proponents are calling for expanding background checks to cover private firearms transactions.
Gun shows, which are specifically mentioned in the resolution, 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 77 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. 0.8 percent obtained a firearm at a gun show.
This will lead to gun registration. 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."