Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Waiting periods for gun sales passes state Senate

Guns for sale at a Wal-Mart on July 19, 2000. Walmart Inc. has no plans to stop selling guns or ammunition, or change any other retail or security practice, following the Aug. 3 shooting that killed at least 20 and wounded 26 shoppers at an El Paso, Texas store, a spokesman for the company said Sunday. (Newsmakers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/TNS)

One of the more significant and controversial gun bills to be introduced during this year’s session is getting close to the finish line.

House Bill 129, which would put a seven-day waiting period on gun sales in New Mexico, passed the Senate on a 23-18 vote Saturday evening, with four Democrats joining the Republicans to oppose it.

Although the bill already passed the House of Representatives, the Senate adopted an amendment making a few changes, most significantly waiving the waiting period for concealed carry permit holders. Therefore it will have to go back to the House for one more vote before it heads to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat and a gun control supporter.

Earlier Saturday, a bill banning guns on playgrounds and in parks cleared a Senate committee, although it has a long way to go in the few days left in the legislative session to have any chance of becoming law. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill on Saturday to increase penalties for felons in possession of firearms but didn’t take up several other, more controversial gun control bills pending on the House calendar.

Lujan Grisham started this year’s session by backing several gun control proposals, most of which would have further to go than HB 129 to pass before the session ends on Thursday.

Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, who proposed his own waiting period bill this year and who carried HB 129 in the Senate, gave several examples of mass shootings that were committed by people who had bought a gun recently. He said lifelong gun owners such as himself have some responsibility to try to find solutions.

“We can’t continue to be the ones to say no to everything,” he said. “It’s on us.”

Republicans proposed a series of amendments to add exemptions to the bill, all of which failed on mostly party-line votes, and debated against it for several hours. Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, cast it as an attack on the traditions of rural New Mexico and compared waiting periods to requiring someone to get an interlock on their car because their neighbor got a DWI.

“We are punishing people who are good citizens, and I think if we go down this road, this is the fuel that will continue to fuel the flame of the divide within this state,” Pirtle said. “This is what makes people not want to talk to each other when they’re at the coffee shop. … This is an attack on culture.”

One amendment, proposed by Pirtle, would have let a gun seller transfer a gun in less than seven days if someone passes a background check. Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca, R-Belen, proposed one to exempt military members. Another proposed by Sen. Crystal Brantley, R-Elephant Butte, would have created an exemption for people with restraining orders. Cervantes suggested this could lead to people seeking restraining orders to get around the law, which several Republicans took offense at.

“This is victim-shaming all over,” Brantley said. “We have established that they are victims from the court.”

Meanwhile, a bill that would ban guns in public parks and playgrounds cleared the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee on a 5-2 party-line vote Saturday morning, with an amendment providing exceptions for people with concealed carry licenses.

Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, introduced the bill with the support of Lujan Grisham’s Public Safety Adviser Ben Baker. Parks and playgrounds, which should be safe havens for children, are “all-too frequent” locations for shootings, which have occurred at parks in “virtually every corner of our state,” said Baker, who said he and his son witnessed a shooting at a park in Bernalillo County in July.

If passed, the bill will almost certainly face court challenges, but Democrats argued it would withstand legal scrutiny. Two federal judges who ruled on the legality of a public health order enacted by Lujan Grisham in September, which banned guns in parks and playgrounds in Bernalillo County, upheld gun restrictions in playgrounds as “sensitive places” analogous to schools. The judges split on the legality of gun restrictions in parks, Ivey-Soto said.

Opponents of the bill said it would not prevent criminals from bringing guns to parks but would inhibit law-abiding citizens’ ability to protect themselves and their children.

“I can assure you that our kids are safer with responsibly armed parents who can meet any threat that faces our kids, especially when we know gun-free zones do not deter dangerous criminals,” Sen. Steven McCutcheon II, R-Carlsbad wrote in a statement after the vote.

Sen. Bill Tallman, D-Albuquerque called Ivey-Soto’s proposal a “baby step” in the right direction.

The U.S. is “swimming in guns,” he said. “Anybody [who] thinks this law is going to make a dent in the crime rate, they’re crazy.”


(c) 2024 The Santa Fe New Mexican

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.