Back in 2019, New Mexico Democrats rammed through a bill imposing universal background checks on all gun sales in the state over the objections of many gun owners and law enforcement officials. In 2020, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham followed up by signing a “red flag” gun seizure bill into law.
Both laws went into effect accompanied by hosannahs from Democratic officials who were eager to tout the benefits of the measures, and promising that the state would be a safer place as a result. Instead, as virtually every Second Amendment advocate predicted, violent crime has soared around the state. Less than ten years ago, in 2014, Albuquerque recorded just 30 homicides. Last year the city set a new record for murders with 117.
Clearly the gun control laws imposed by Democrats in recent years haven’t done anything to make anyone (except perhaps criminals themselves) safer, but the gun control lobby itself is still pushing for even more restrictions this year. What’s more, their current messaging sure sounds like they are hoping voters have forgotten all about their previous demands for universal background checks and red flag laws.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has asked the Legislature to focus on crime this legislative session, and this week multiple bills that are looking to change New Mexico’s gun laws are being introduced.
There are four public safety bills that focus on guns going into committee this week. These bills – if passed – would change what people can and can’t own, and will lay out the new penalties for those who break these laws.
… It’s no secret gun violence is a problem in the state and in the last few years many organizations and individuals have called on the Roundhouse to pass stricter gun laws like those mentioned.
Earlier this year, KOB 4’s Tessa Mentus and Chris Ramirez sat down with “Moms Demand Action” and they say they have been pushing for these bills for years.
“It’s the same things that needed to happen 6 years ago when my son was murdered. This is the 6th legislative session that I will be along with this large group that legislature should know, we will be there holding them accountable and are trying to fight for stronger laws,” mother Nicole Chavez said back in November.
Fast-forward to the current session, Herndon said she is confident this is the session we will see change.
We’ve seen plenty of changes to New Mexico’s gun laws in the past few years, but both the Moms Demand Action spokeswoman and Democrat state Rep. Pamelya Herndon are acting like there’s been some sort of legislative roadblock thrown up that’s prevented their anti-gun agenda from being turned into law.
The motivation to downplay the universal background check and red flag laws passed just a few short years ago is obvious. If more voters are aware that these gun control laws are already on the books and have failed to reduce violent crime, it makes it less likely that they’ll support the candidates pushing the latest round of anti-gun measures proposed this year, which include a ban on ammunition magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds and creates a misdemeanor offense for parents who allow their child access to a firearm if they use it to commit a violent crime of their own.
While Democrats are trying to ban their way to safety, data in the state shows that one of the biggest issues at the moment is a declining number of arrests, even as violent crime soars.
Amid the spike in violent crime, the number of offenders sent to New Mexico state prisons on new charges has been dropping, with prison population down some 35% since 2015.
The recent public safety assessments from a key legislative committee, coupled with other state reports and Journal interviews, provide new evidence of what many New Mexicans might already suspect.
“In short, we have identified an ongoing accountability gap where the criminal justice system has not kept pace with the level of crime,” said Jon Courtney, deputy director of the Legislative Finance Committee. As a result, punishment has grown less certain as crime has increased, the LFC says.
… As violent crime has risen, the rate of cases cleared by arrest has dropped dramatically. And that began before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The LFC reported the statewide clearance rate for violent crimes went from slightly less than 50% statewide in 2011 to just above 30% in 2020.
In Albuquerque, the LFC reported declining clearance rates for both violent and property crimes since 2010, “meaning offenders are less likely to be apprehended than a decade ago.”
Want to reduce violent crime? Solve more cases. But imposing new criminal penalties on the right to keep and bear arms isn’t going to do anything but create new non-violent criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens. It’s going to take New Mexico further away from the strategies that are actually effective at reducing crime and increasing public safety, which don’t involve imposing new gun control laws on legal gun owners.
Of course, the gun control lobby’s agenda isn’t really about reducing crime. It’s about reducing the number of gun owners, even if they typically pitch their proposals on public safety grounds. And they’re hoping that not only can they convince Democrats to go along with another rounds of restrictions on legal gun owners this year, but that New Mexico voters will have forgotten all about the promises of safety that came with the implementation of the state’s universal background check and red flag laws just a few short years ago and reward the left with continued control of the state’s government.