Friday Feb. 10, the House Judiciary Committee passed with a vote of 7 to 6 House Bill 50 (HB 50), co-sponsored by our representatives Stephanie Garcia Richard and Richard Martinez. HB 50 would close background check loopholes for buying guns in New Mexico. In our state it’s not illegal to avoid background checks when purchasing a firearm.
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, New Mexico is the 10th-worst state for gun deaths: There were 14.6 gun deaths for every 100,000 people in the state in 2010. That’s 40 percent higher than the national average of 10.3 gun deaths for every 100,000 people. The Daily Beast listed New Mexico as the sixth “deadliest gun state” in the United States in 2011 because of its combination of permissive gun laws and a high rate of gun deaths. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave New Mexico an “F,” ranking it 40th out of 50 states for having enacted “few” gun-violence prevention laws.
On the other hand, states that have closed the loopholes have seen a huge reduction in gun homicide. These states have had 46 percent fewer women shot to death by their partners, 48 percent fewer Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) killed with handguns, and 52 percent fewer mass shootings. A 2013 poll reported by the movement Mayors Against Illegal Guns, showed that 83 percent of New Mexico residents, including 79 percent of gun owners, support background checks of all gun sales.
Supporters of the bill are invited to call Stephanie Garcia Richard’s office at 505.986.4846 and co-sponsor Richard Martinez’s office at 505.986.4487 to let them know they support HB 50.