Anti-Gun Bills Move Forward In New Mexico

by
posted on February 7, 2017
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New Mexico gun owners must immediately rally opposition to two identical anti-gun measures that would criminalize most private transfers of firearms in the Land of Enchantment.

House Bill 50, NRA-opposed legislation banning private firearms sales and transfers, is sponsored by Democrat state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and is receiving full support from the Bloomberg-funded gun-ban group Everytown for Gun Safety. On Saturday, the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee approved the measure by a 3-2 vote. In reality, if these measures become law, they will work to turn law-abiding gun owners into a new class of criminal.

Also last week, the Senate Public Affairs Committee approved an identical measure, Senate Bill 48, in a 5-3 party line vote. Both measures will be considered next in the respective chamber’s Judiciary Committee.

Under the headline “Bill to Close Loophole on Gun Sales Passes New Mexico House Committee,” New Mexico Public Radio KRWG reported it like this: “House Bill 50 would close a dangerous loophole that allows guns to be sold online or at gun shows or even in parking lots without criminal background checks. It has exceptions written in to allow family members to transfer guns to their relatives and for the loaning of guns for hunting, shooting ranges or self-defense.”

Sound pretty good? Here’s why it is so important that New Mexico gun owners immediately go on the offensive against these measures. The measures don’t simply close some fictional “gun show loophole” or regulate “online gun sales” as Everytown, the bills’ sponsors and anti-gunners in the media would have you believe. In reality, if these measures become law, they will work to turn law-abiding gun owners into a new class of criminal.

“If you follow some of the media coverage on these two bills, you may think this is the gun show issue revisited from three years ago,” NRA state liaison Tara Mica told a gathering of gun-rights supporters last month. “These bills go much, much further than that. If you have never been to a gun show, if you never had any desire to go to a gun show, you could be directly impacted by these bills, because they affect all private firearms sales between individuals with very limited exceptions, and they also affect all temporary firearm transfers, mere exchanges of possession between two people, with, again, very limited exceptions.”

According to NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the measures would prohibit law-abiding gun owners from selling or gifting their firearms to any distant relatives, friends, neighbors, business associates or fellow gun club members without government permission. “The bill would criminalize nearly all private firearm sales between individuals unless they are conducted through a licensed dealer involving extensive federal paperwork, background check and payment of an undetermined fee,” NRA-ILA reported. “Licensed dealers maintain paperwork recording these transfers for 20 years and then turn it over to the federal government if they ever go out of business.”SB 48/HB 50 even require the return of loaned firearms to original owners be conducted through a licensed dealer …

Further, SB 48/HB 50 would restrict temporary firearm transfers or loans—not just gun sales. NRA-ILA reports that there are a limited number of exemptions, including transfers taking place exclusively at shooting ranges, while hunting or trapping, or during an organized competition or performance; or any time the transferor remains present the entire duration of the transfer. These confusing exemptions raise serious questions about the bills’ scope, compliance and enforceability, while also highlighting the overreach of the measures.

Additionally, NRA-ILA reports that several other normal, everyday activities could be criminalized under the bills without going through an FFL and obtaining government permission, including:

  • An individual loaning his or her significant other a handgun for self-protection when homes or apartments in the neighborhood have been burglarized;
  • A member of the military who is deployed overseas and wants to store his or her personal firearms with a trusted friend;
  • Someone borrowing a co-worker’s gun to take on a hunting trip, to the local range or to shoot on BLM land when the colleague cannot accompany him or her on the excursion;
  • Working ranch employees possessing and transporting ranch-owned rifles in vehicles or on their person; and
  • Volunteers staging auction or raffle items for a non-profit, charitable fundraising events where a firearm is displayed.

SB 48/HB 50 even require the return of loaned firearms to original owners be conducted through a licensed dealer, with completion of federal paperwork and payment of an undetermined fee. 

NRA liaison Mica summed up the proposals best.

“With all the problems you have in New Mexico ... they are going to spend time debating an ineffective criminal-justice policy matter that is unenforceable that will cost law-abiding citizens time, money and freedom,” Mica said.

Use Your Power!

New Mexico gun owners must speak out now against these misleading, anti-freedom measures. Please contact your state representatives and urge them to oppose HB50, and your state senators and ask them to oppose SB 48. To contact them directly, click here.

Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.

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