SANTA FE ― This evening the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to strengthen consequences for felons in possession of a firearm or other destructive device. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Bernalillo).
House Bill 52 would make the crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm a third degree felony instead of the fourth degree felony it is now. Enhancing the penalty would increase the length of the sentence from 18 months in prison plus a $5,000 fine to a three year sentence with a $,5000 fine. The penalty enhancement would only apply to felons who have been convicted of committing extremely violent crimes.
“This bill was developed to deter felons from attempting to obtain a firearm,” Gentry said. “It is a narrowly targeted proposal aimed at preventing the most violent criminals from getting their hands on a firearm. A couple of years ago, Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster lost his life to a felon who was illegally carrying a firearm. Had this legislation been in place at the time, perhaps his assailant would have thought twice before carrying a gun.”
House Bill 52 was approved by three House committees prior to passing the House. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.