New Mexico’s legislative session wraps up about five weeks from now, and Democrats are racing to enact a number of new infringements on the right to keep and bear arms including a ban on so-called assault weapons. That legislation, along with a bill that would impose a 14-day waiting period on all gun purchases in the state, advanced out of a House committee on Tuesday on a party-line vote, and more anti-gun bills are in the pipeline.
The committee room was packed with opponents and supporters of the measures, including co-sponsor Rep. Andrea Romero, who described the proposed two-week waiting period as a “mass shooting prevention bill.”
Opponents said the proposals would keep domestic violence victims from arming themselves in an emergency and would restrict the rights of gun enthusiasts who legally bought their firearms.
One rancher called the proposals a “declaration of war” on gun owners.
“A right delayed is a right denied,” San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari said. “This is going to prevent people from protecting themselves against their aggressors.
“Let’s go after the bad guys, not law abiding citizens.”
Rep. Stefani Lord, R-Sandia Park, said the proposed restrictions would abridge people’s right to self defense.
“This bill is hugely problematic for me on so many levels,” she said of the proposed ban.
New Mexico’s violent crime rate has been steadily rising over the past few years, even as Democrats have added multiple gun control laws to the books; including “universal” background checks and a “red flag” law. Instead of going after violent criminals, however, the Democratic majority is trying to turn peaceable gun owners into paperwork criminals while infringing on their fundamental right to keep and bear arms.
A separate proposal, House Bill 101, would ban the sale and possession of “assault weapons” — defined as semiautomatic rifles and handguns with certain characteristics — but with a grandfather clause.
Among the items restricted would be a semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine and a pistol grip.
People who owned the prohibited firearms before the law took effect could keep them but would face limits on where they could take them. They would have to submit paperwork to the state.
Possession would be permitted, for example, at firing ranges and sport shooting competitions.
Yeah, about that “grandfather clause.” According to the current text of HB 101, there is no grandfather clause included. Here’s what the actual legislation says:
A person shall not manufacture, import, possess, purchase, sell or transfer any assault weapon.
C. Subsection B of this section shall not apply to:
(1) any government officer, agent or employee, a member of the armed forces of the United States or a peace officer to the extent that such person is otherwise authorized to acquire or possess an assault weapon and does so while acting within the scope of that person’s duties;
(2) the manufacture of an assault weapon by a firearms manufacturer for the purpose of sale to any branch of the armed forces of the United States or to a law enforcement agency in the state for use by that agency or its employees; provided that the manufacturer is properly licensed under federal, state and local laws; or
(3) the sale or transfer of an assault weapon by a dealer that is properly licensed under federal, state and local laws to any branch of the armed forces of the United States or to a law enforcement agency in the state for use by that agency or its employees for law enforcement purposes.
Any person who may not lawfully possess an assault weapon commencing July 1, 2023 shall, prior to July 1, 2023:
(1) remove the assault weapon from the state;
(2) render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or
(3) surrender the assault weapon to the appropriate law enforcement agency for destruction.
The same goes for anyone possessing an ammunition magazine with a capacity of more than ten rounds; either remove it from the state, permanently modify it to accept no more than 10-rounds, or surrender the magazines to law enforcement. And the bill defines “assault weapons” so broadly that even rimfire rifles with a fixed magazine capacity of more than 10-rounds would be considered one.
Maybe Democrats intend to amend the bill at some point, but as of Wednesday morning the only legislative text available for HB 101 contains no grandfather clause whatsoever, just an outright prohibition on possessing commonly-owned firearms and ammunition magazines. If HB 101 passes, it would be one of the most expansive gun bans in the nation and would face an immediate legal challenge… and likely widespread non-compliance as well; not just from violent criminals but the responsible gun owners across the state who are the target of these flagrantly unconstitutional bans.