Anti-Gun Lawmakers Respond By Considering Restrictive Firearm Bills As Early As Next Thursday
In her opening day speech to state lawmakers, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called on them to pass various gun control proposals that she supported on the campaign trail and which have been filed in the New Mexico Legislature. She stated that “hunters, sportsmen and responsible gun owners also recognize the need for New Mexico to take steps toward smart, effective gun violence prevention...”, implying that the gun community supports the restrictive measures outlined below.
While nobody is more adamant about preventing violent crime than gun owners and sportsmen, we know that the way to accomplish this is not through intrusive, ineffective and unenforceable gun control schemes. NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters are strongly encouraged to contact Governor Lujan Grisham and tell her that you OPPOSE the bills listed below.
In response to the governor's call-to-action, the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee is expected to hold public hearings on the following gun control measures on Thursday, January 24, at 1:30pm in Room 317 of the State Capitol. (Note: committee agendas have not been officially posted and we will notify you of any changes in scheduling.)
House Bill 8, so-called "universal background check" legislation sponsored by Representative Debra Sarinana, would ban all private firearms sales between law-abiding individuals. Gun owners will be forced to pay undetermined fees and obtain government approval before selling firearms to family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers, or fellow hunters, competitive shooters and gun club members. This proposal will have no impact on crime and is unenforceable without gun registration.
House Bill 35, by Representative Miguel Garcia, would require federal firearm licensed dealers to pay the state $200 annually to establish a system for the Department of Public Safety to run stolen gun checks on any used firearm an FFL purchases. While FFLs and gun owners support getting stolen firearms off the street, a functional process that allows them to conduct such checks in real time needs to be worked out in advance of any such mandate. And the state, rather than small business owners, should finance such a public safety initiative.
House Bill 40, by Representative Miguel Garcia, would require criminal records checks on private firearms sales at gun shows – a perennial target of the gun control crowd, even though studies show that these events are not a source of crime guns.
House Bill 83, extreme risk protection order or "red flag" legislation sponsored by Representative Damon Ely, would authorize the seizure of firearms and ammunition from individuals without due process. Unchallenged statements made by a petitioner before a judge, alleging that someone is a danger to themselves or others in an ex parte proceeding -- prior to any formal court hearing at which the respondent can be represented by counsel and present counter evidence -- would be sufficient for law enforcement to enter that person's home and confiscate their private property.
House Bill 87by Representative Deborah Armstrong expands the state’s “prohibited person” firearm law by purportedly incorporating federal firearm disqualifications. The bill would prohibit individuals convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanor crimes or who are subject to a domestic violence protective order from purchasing or possessing a firearm, with violations being a criminal offense. However, the bill goes beyond the prohibited categories in federal law in several significant ways. The state law definition of “household member” – unlike federal law – specifically includes a person who is or has been a continuing personal relationship, which applies to dating or intimate partners who have never lived together. The bill would include, as firearm-prohibiting offenses, nonviolent misdemeanors with no physical contact between the parties (like harassment by telephone or email, or criminal damage to the property or jointly owned property of a “household member”). Unlike federal law, this bill would require anyone subject to a protective order to surrender any firearms they own, possess, or control to law enforcement within 48 hours of the order. Not only does this bill impose a mandatory surrender, it authorizes law enforcement to seize any guns that are in plain sight or are discovered pursuant to a lawful search. Similar legislation had passed the Legislature in 2017 but was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez. Significantly, the 2017 legislation contained other options for affected parties to comply with the firearm surrender requirement, including storing their guns with licensed firearm dealers, or transferring the guns to a qualified third party. These key alternatives are not contained in this bill.
House Bill 130, sponsored by Representative Linda Trujillo, would make gun owners criminally and civilly liable if a child gains unsupervised access to an unsecured firearm. New Mexico already has a first degree felony child abuse statute on the books to hold adults accountable for putting children's lives or health at risk in any manner. The tools exist to charge and prosecute parents or guardians in appropriate cases. Education is the key to protecting gun owners and their kids, not a state mandate on how one stores a firearm in his or her home.
Please make plans to attend Thursday's hearing to speak out against these misguided bills and contact committee members to urge them to OPPOSE these measures.