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Three gun bills pass committee hearing in House

Legislative chambers in the New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe.
Legislative chambers in the New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is pushing for gun control to be a priority during this short, 30-day legislative session this year. Three such bills made it out of committee yesterday on party-line votes.

The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee heard arguments on three separate gun-related bills Thursday in a meeting that lasted about six hours.

Miranda Viscoli, the co-founder of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, spoke multiple times at the meeting and said that the new legislation would go a long way in helping students feel safe at school.

“They are frightened,” she said. “They are frustrated, and they are beyond confused why we are doing so little to keep them safe.”

One of the bills, HB 129, would impose a 14-day waiting period on firearm sales. HB 137 would ban the sale of some semi-automatic weapons. The third, HB 127, would raise the minimum age for buying or possessing a semi-automatic or automatic weapon from 18 to 21.

Viscoli and others said the bills would save lives, by preventing suicides and crimes of passion and also limiting access to the most destructive weapons.

Opponents, like Edgewood Mayor Kenneth Brennan, said the bills would infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens and not prevent harm.

“Anybody who is determined to go cause harm to another will always find alternative motives to do so,” Brennan said.

All three bills passed the committee on party-line votes of 4-2 and will move on to the House Judiciary. Another bill, HB 114, that would create the Firearm Industry Accountability Act, advanced to the House Floor on Friday.

Gov. Lujan Grisham called gun violence prevention a priority for this year’s session in her State of the State speech.

She also highlighted the bills related to minimum purchase age and the 14-day waiting period in her public safety agenda.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners. 

Megan Myscofski is a reporter with KUNM's Poverty and Public Health Project.
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