Legislature 2019

NM governor signs bill to expand background checks on gun sales

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 3/8/19

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill into law on Friday (March 8) that widely expands the requirement to conduct an "instant" federal background check when selling a firearm to include …

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Legislature 2019

NM governor signs bill to expand background checks on gun sales

Posted

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill into law on Friday (March 8) that extends the requirement to conduct a federal background check when selling a firearm to include private sales, making good on a campaign promise to pass new gun control legislation during her first year in office.

"The new law improves public safety by expanding required background checks on firearm purchases to include private gun sales, closing loopholes for certain sales like those made online or at gun show," reads a press release sent on Friday from Lujan's office.

Senate Bill 8 is one of several bills introduced at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe this year that aims to reduce gun violence, but many Republicans and some Democrats in the state have questioned whether the legislation will have the impact the governor has claimed.

The vast majority of elected sheriffs in New Mexico also disagreed with the governor, arguing that most criminals looking to acquire a firearm do so illegally, and would therefore be mostly unaffected by the expanded requirement to conduct a background check.

"No criminal is going to stop or pause in the middle of their break-in to go get a [background check] before stealing your gun," said Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe.

Hogrefe said he and other sheriffs around the state visited the Roundhouse to make their case, but were mostly denied a voice before lawmakers.

Instead, they turned to their respective county commissions.

As of press time Friday, 26 of the 33 counties in the state had passed resolutions expressing opposition to laws many believe will be costly to gun buyers and infringe on their rights. The Taos County Commission passed its own resolution in a 3-2 vote this week.

According to reporting by the Santa Fe New Mexican, House Republicans are now eyeing an option in the state constitution that could allow voters in the 2020 general election to decide for themselves if the law will stay on the books.

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