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Parents teaching kids to shoot guns could face up to $1,000 fine under NM bill

A handgun and a gun safe. (Tech. Sgt. Thomas Dow/U.S. Air Force)
February 05, 2021

A New Mexico bill could make it a crime for parents to teach their children how to use firearms by establishing an “authorized user” requirement for handling guns.

Democrat State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez introduced Senate Bill 224 on Monday, which states, “A minor may be an authorized user only if the minor is at least twelve years of age and has successfully completed a firearm safety training course.” Failure to adhere to the rules could lead to a fine of up to $1,000.

The bill also requires all firearms to be locked in a container or secured with a gun lock in order to “render the firearm inaccessible or unusable to any person other than the owner or other authorized user.”

If a firearm owner or authorized user “knows or reasonably should have known that a minor, an at-risk person or a prohibited person” could access a gun, or if the owner or authorized user fails to secure a firearm, they could be guilty of a misdemeanor and forced to pay a fine.

The New Mexico Shooting Sports Association warned that the bill would make it a crime for parents to teach their children under age 12 to use a gun.  

“You would become a criminal for taking your child to go shooting if they had not previously taken some kind of formal class,” NMSSA said, according to the Pinion Post. “The bill is an uneducated attempt to demonize firearms … It is already a crime to place a child in a situation that endangers their life, this law does nothing to add to a child’s safety.”

The proposed legislation comes as the FBI continues shattering firearm background check records: January broke the single-month record with 4.3 million checks conducted.

According to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), 4,317,804 background checks were conducted in January, kicking off 2021 with the highest number of checks ever performed in a single month since the FBI began recording the data in 1998.

The agency conducted 4,288,240 state-level background checks alone, with the remainder falling under federal-level checks, like those required for federal law enforcement, according to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer, Fox News reported.

While the number of background checks do suggest increased sales, they do not directly translate to the number of guns sold. For instance, one person can purchase several firearms based on a single background check.

Brauer said the FBI’s numbers indicate over 2.2 million firearms were sold in the first month this year, a 79 percent jump over the same period in 2020.

“January 2021 certainly started off with a sales ‘bang’ due to turmoil surrounding the confirmation and inauguration of Mr. Biden as the new U.S. President,” Brauer said in a press release.