Last fall, New Mexico Democrats a seven seat margin in the state House of Representatives into a 46-24 advantage for this year’s legislative session, and have wasted no time in promoting gun regulations during the early part of this year. Two key pieces of legislation - HB 8 and HB 87 - both passed the state House Friday.
The first bill - HB 8 - is standard, sensible background check legislation that would make the “sale of a firearm without conducting a federal instant background check” a misdemeanor. The bill does carve out a number of exceptions, but in all the language more than satisfies the recommendation of the Giffords Law Center that New Mexico require background checks on all gun sales.
A second recommendation from Giffords is that New Mexico address the problem of individuals with domestic violence convictions buying and carrying guns, and HB 87 seeks to address this. The bill amends current law pertaining to groups barred from receiving, transporting, or possessing firearms in the state to include “a person subject to an order of protection… a person convicted of… battery against a household member… aggravated battery against a household member [and] stalking.”
HB 8 passed with a final vote of 41-25 and HB 87 by 37-28. Republicans voted in lockstep opposition to both pieces of legislation both at the final vote and in committee, but could not overcome the advantage Democrats earned during the 2018 midterms. Among the Democrats voted in during those midterms was LEAPer Karen Bash, and I am grateful for her votes in favor of both bills.
In all, 36 members of the New Mexico House retain perfect grades following these votes.