Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s proposed ban on gas-operated semi-automatic long guns advanced out of its first committee on Thursday, along with bills banning gun possession for adults younger than 2 and establishing a 14-business day waiting period on firearm transfers; which would be the longest waiting period in the country if enshrined into law.
The measures, which are all part of Grisham’s legislative priorities during the 30-day session that’s supposed to be centered around budget issues, were approved along party lines, with every Democrat on the House Consumer and Public Affairs committee voting in favor and every GOP committee member opposed. The New Mexico Shooting Sports Association is warning that more bills are going to be heard in committee today, while anti-gun lawmakers are still introducing additional bills infringing on the right to keep and bear arms ahead of the session’s filing deadline.
HB114, the bill that would make the firearms industry an easy target for litigation that could put them out of business, will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee. That meeting is scheduled for 1:30pm in Room 309 (zoom link). Keep in mind that committee meetings often start late.
Second, SB69, the senate version of a 14 business day waiting period bill, will be heard in the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee on Friday 1/26. They meet after the afternoon senate floor session in Room 311 (zoom link).
We have seen numerous gun control bills filed, but as the filing deadline for the 2024 session is still a few days away, more are still being filed. HB144 would create a new state agency to address “gun violence,” but that agency would be able to give grants to third party gun control groups. In other words, the state could funnel your taxpayer dollars to gun control groups who could use them to advocate against your rights. SB204 would ban carrying a firearm in a park or playground – a legislative version of the governor’s failed executive order. This bill was filed despite the fact that a judge issued an injunction against the ban on firearms in parks.
That last bill is a perfect example of the contempt shown to both lawful gun owners and their Second Amendment rights by Democrats in Santa Fe this session. It doesn’t matter to bill sponsor Daniel Ivey-Soto that a federal judge has already said the governor’s unilaterally imposed ban on concealed carry in parks is likely to be unconstitutional, or that other federal judges have concluded the same about playgrounds. Under his bill, it would be a fourth-degree felony for a licensed concealed carry holder to have their pistol by their side for protection when they’re at the park with their kids.
As we covered on Thursday, the fiscal impact report on Grisham’s proposed semi-auto ban predicted that the cost of defending it in court would be close to $500,000. Taxpayers can expect that every gun control measure the legislature adopts this session is going to be challenged in court, and each one of these bills is likely going to come with a price tag that’s equally high, because they’re blatantly unconstitutional.
Take SB 127, which bans the purchase and possession of semi-automatic firearms by adults younger than 21. The authors of the bill may have thought they were being cute by not imposing a total ban on gun possession for under-21s, but this bill would still fail the text, history, and tradition test laid out by the Supreme Court in Bruen. Several courts across the country have already concluded that bans on carrying or possession of firearms in general by under-21s are unconstitutional, and there’s certainly no evidence that young adults have ever been prohibited from possessing the most common firearms in existence, whether we’re talking about single-shot pistols in the 18th century or revolvers in the 19th century.
There’s still time for Democratic lawmakers to show they’ve got a backbone and more than two working brain cells by opposing the governor’s anti-civil rights agenda, but so far we’ve seen no evidence that any of them are willing or able to do so. Still, gun owners need to keep up the pressure and remind their senators and representatives that when they took their oath of office they pledged to support the U.S. and New Mexico constitutions; both of which guarantee that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed or abridged.