As noted yesterday, there’s a concerted push throughout the nation on two pieces of legislation. Universal background checks and red flag laws keep popping up as a pair in statehouses.
It’s unsurprising since both tend to have a broad base of support, including among some Republicans, making them among the most likely pieces of legislation to pass.
A third piece of legislation also pops up fairly regularly, though. This one seeks to expand the list of people who are prohibited from owning guns. This list tends to be less controversial than an outright ban, mostly because it’s not palatable to defend some of these people, even if they haven’t committed felonies, which would prohibit them already.
Now, the state of New Mexico will now be debating all three of these measures.
Legislators are pressing ahead with a slate of gun control bills that would require background checks for virtually all firearm sales and add to the categories of offenders who would be prohibited from possessing a gun at all.
Proponents argue these bills will close loopholes and help keep guns out of the hands of those who have committed violent crimes or are in crisis. But critics argue the laws will prove unenforceable, ineffective and will undermine the right to bear arms.
The measures come with a sense of urgency after mass shootings around the country and in New Mexico have spurred calls for tighter limits on obtaining firearms.
But even with Democrats holding a 46-24 majority in the House, any major gun control measures will face opposition as well as wary moderates.
In turn, Democrats are focusing on a few sets of policies they argue are effective enough to win support for finally passing a bill after years of watching legislation be watered down or blocked altogether. Instead of calling for bans on so-called bump stocks or high-capacity magazines, lawmakers so far are focusing on expanding background checks and tightening limits on the rights of domestic violence offenders to possess guns.
House Bill 8, for example, would make it unlawful to sell a firearm without a background check.
Another measure, House Bill 40, would require vendors at gun shows to run background checks on buyers.
House Bill 83 would create a process through which a household member or law enforcement officer could get a protection order to seize firearms.
House Bill 87 would expand the list of people who are not allowed to receive, transport or possess firearms to include not just felons but anyone under certain domestic violence restraining orders. The law would also include anyone convicted of battery against a household member, aggravated battery against a household member, stalking and criminal damage to property of a household member. Those crimes are currently misdemeanors.
As you can tell, a lot is going on here.
For one thing, vendors at gun shows are dealers, generally. They’re required by federal law to perform background checks on buyers anyway. Expand that to a universal background check system, and you’re getting redundant. Unless, of course, New Mexico wants vendors selling non-firearms also to perform background checks. However, a quick check of the bill’s text shows that it doesn’t.
There’s a lot to fight in this, namely this idea that there are all these gun sales taking place that endanger the public. They’re not.
More importantly, is that criminals will still sell guns to one another regardless of what laws get passed. All New Mexico is going to do is create difficulties for their law-abiding citizens.
Not that Democrats in the state care, mind you.