Waiting Period Takes Effect in New Mexico, but Gun Stores Have Unanswered Questions

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

When it comes to the law, it's helpful if everyone is on the same page as to what is permitted and what isn't. The last thing most want to do is break the law, particularly due to a misunderstanding.

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After all, "Oops!" isn't a valid defense in a court of law.

In New Mexico, they have a couple of new gun control laws going into effect today. One seems simple enough. You can't carry a gun into a polling place but have to leave it in your car or somewhere else. It's stupid, of course, since it's not like we've seen shootings in polling places, but at least it's something we can more or less understand.

But the other law has...issues, and the state hasn't exactly been helpful to the gun stores that are required to help uphold the law.

It was just three months ago when state lawmakers approved two new gun control bills, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed them into law.

On Wednesday, both of those new laws will go into effect across New Mexico. We’re talking about a ban on guns at polling places, and a mandatory seven-day waiting period for most gun sales.

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Arnold Gallegos knows his customers will have a lot of questions about the state’s new mandatory seven-day waiting period for gun sales, and he doesn’t have the answers.

“It doesn’t really list a whole lot of anything for us as retailers and what we’re supposed to do,” said Arnold Gallegos, owner of ABQ Guns. “It doesn’t even address who is allowed to do the transfer at all. So we’re kind of stuck in the dark.”

One of his biggest questions is how to measure seven days.

“New Mexico state law says that a day starts at midnight to midnight. Well, does that mean that if you come in at 6, at 9:30 in the morning, that that time doesn’t start till midnight, and we have to wait till midnight for the seven days?” Gallegos said.

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And let's be real, the answer matters because if the state wants the clock to start at midnight, but a gun store figures it means 168 hours, there might well be a problem, especially if someone does start the process first thing in the morning.

Unfortunately, Gallegos describes the state's communication on this as "radio silence."

That's not good, especially if you actually want people to comply with the law. Then again, this is Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham we're talking about here, along with her Democratic allies. I can't rule out that they're hoping gun stores break the unclear rules and can be shut down for it, thus making it impossible to obtain a firearm in the state at all.

I'd like to think that's not the case, but I can't rule it out.

Official state websites offer pretty much nothing for gun store owners to go on, and what is there also comes with a warning not to rely on that information to comply with the law.

It's absolutely insane what's happening there.

Then again, based on what we've seen from anti-gunners there, it's also on-brand.

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