New Mexico safe storage bill amended in committee; emerges as "child neglect" legislation

LEAP Forward has been tracking New Mexico HB 130 since its introduction last December. The bill, by Democrat Linda Trujillo, was introduced as legislation that would have created the offense of Negligent Storage of Firearms, and define that offense as keeping a firearm in a location where a person could reasonably believe a minor could find it. The crime carried a fine of $250 for an unloaded firearm, and a jail term of up to six months and a fine of up to $500 for a loaded one. Penalties increased if the gun was used in the commission of a crime, or led to death and injury.

The New Mexico House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee yesterday substituted language for the original bill. What has emerged is watered down, but still worthy of passage, and LEAP Forward will continue to score support for the legislation.

What HB 130 does now is add to existing law regarding neglected children, enhancing the definition of a “neglected child” to include one whose parent leaves a firearm - loaded or unloaded - where that child could gain access to it.

The committee vote was still divided along party lines, with the committee’s three Democrats overruling two Republican “no” votes and reporting the bill with a “do pass” recommendation.