Bill to Close Loophole on Gun Sales Passes New Mexico House Committee
Commentary: Santa Fe, NM – A bill requiring background checks on all firearm sales passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee by a vote of 3 to 1. House Bill 50 would close a dangerous loophole that allows guns to be sold online or at gun shows or even in parking lots without criminal background checks. It has exceptions written in to allow family members to transfer guns to their relatives and for the loaning of guns for hunting, shooting ranges or self-defense.
“We must balance public safety with convenience,” said HB 50’s sponsor Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos). “It’s not difficult to buy a gun from a licensed dealer. Background checks take, on average, two minutes.”
Rep. Garcia Richard told of her own experience buying a gun from an online dealer. “We met at the parking lot of a McDonald’s. No names, no IDs, and I paid cash.”
Testimony was given by members of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, Voices For Children, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense New Mexico Chapter, the National Association of Social Workers New Mexico Chapter, Everytown for Gun Safety, former law enforcement officials, and other concerned citizens who support this common sense measure. Rep. Eliseo Alcon (D-Milan), chairman of the committee, allowed any member of the public who wanted to speak for or against the bill to comment at today’s hearing.
New Mexico has a rate 11 times higher than the national average of law enforcement officers shot and killed in the line of duty. Davon Lymon, the man charged with killing Albuquerque police officer Daniel Webster was a career criminal who was able to obtain his gun without a background check.
New Mexico is the deadliest state for domestic violence incidents. Overall, in states that require background checks for all handgun sales, there are: 46% fewer women shot to death by their partners, 48% fewer law enforcement officers killed with handguns, and 52% fewer mass shootings.
Nearly nine in ten voters say they either strongly support (73%) or somewhat support (14%) requiring criminal background checks on the sale of all firearms, including those sold at gun shows and online. [Source: Research & Polling Inc., January 2017]
HB 50 will be heard next by the House Judiciary Committee.