N.M. gov prioritizes new gun law proposals

Preventing gun violence ‘the most important work we’re going to do’ Lujan Grisham says in State of the State

By: - January 17, 2024 3:06 am

Lujan Grisham’s “gun safety package” before lawmakers seeks to ban assault weapons, raise the legal purchase age for all guns to 21, institute a 14-day waiting period, increase penalties for felons in possession of a firearm, keep guns out of parks and playgrounds, and allow police to file Extreme Risk Protection Orders to keep firearms away from people who are a danger to themselves or others. (Photo by Anna Padilla for Source NM)

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the most important work during the legislative session will be proposed changes to New Mexico law to restrict the use and sale of guns.

In her State of the State address on Tuesday, Lujan Grisham said it’s far too easy to get a gun in New Mexico, and New Mexicans have “seen the carnage that results” from gun violence.

“This violence is nothing short of horrific. It is tragic, and it is preventable. Enough,” Lujan Grisham said during her prepared remarks. “This is the most important work we’re going to do. All the other stuff — the jobs, the futures, the homes, the education — are meaningless if we can’t keep New Mexicans safe.”

Gun-related injuries are the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the U.S., according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Lujan Grisham pointed to recent incidents including a mass shooting in Farmington in April 2023 and on Jan. 14 where a 14-year-old allegedly shot a 6-year-old.

“We have seen too many ruined lives, too many broken families, too many stolen futures, and too many small coffins,” Lujan Grisham said.

Lujan Grisham’s “gun safety package” before lawmakers seeks to ban assault weapons, raise the legal purchase age for all guns to 21, institute a 14-day waiting period, increase penalties for felons in possession of a firearm, keep guns out of parks and playgrounds, and allow police to file Extreme Risk Protection Orders to keep firearms away from people who are a danger to themselves or others.

Each proposal is co-sponsored by a lawmaker and has been introduced for debate. While the New Mexico 30-day session is designed for legislators to pass a budget, the governor can add additional items to the agenda, such as the new proposals on guns.

“I submit that these are common-sense measures that will save lives,” Lujan Grisham said.

Lujan Grisham in September signed an executive order saying gun violence in the state “constitutes a statewide public health emergency,” which sparked a series of legal challenges in the courts and threats against her life at a rally in her hometown and on social media.

“No responsible gun owner should be punished or prevented from exercising their rights – and no child should ever be put in danger by a weapon of war, especially one wielded by a person who can’t pass a background check, or can’t wait two weeks to get a firearm,” Lujan Grisham said Tuesday. “Any gun in the wrong hands is an untenable risk that we can’t afford.”

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Austin Fisher
Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.

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