New Mexico Lawmakers are the First to Advance an Innovative Approach to Ban Assault Weapons
SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action issued the following statement after House lawmakers advanced major gun-safety legislation. Throughout this week, lawmakers have held hearings on gun safety legislation in the Roundhouse with Moms and Students Demand Action volunteers delivering testimony in support of the measures. The bills now move to the House Judiciary Committee before full consideration of the legislature.
“We’re feeling the momentum and today is a major step forward in getting these life-saving measures across the finish line,” said Regina Griego, a volunteer with the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’ll continue to show up every step of the way for these bills because our communities cannot afford otherwise. As gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death in this country for children, we must continue this fight to break the cycle and end this crisis. We look forward to continuing working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to get these bills to the governor’s desk.”
The life-saving gun safety bills were heard and voted out of the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee this week:
- Gas-Operated Semiautomatic Firearms Exclusion Act, HB 137 (Rep. Romero): This legislation prohibits the possession, sale, transfer, and receipt of gas-operated semi automatic firearms and large-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This includes weapons commonly used in mass tragedies, and military-style rifles.
- Firearm Sale Waiting Period Crimes, HB 129 (Rep. Romero): This legislation strengthens the state’s gun safety laws by creating a 14-day waiting period on all firearm purchases. It also prohibits gun stores from finalizing sales until the background check is completed.
- Age 21 For Firearm Purchases, HB 127 (Rep. Szczepanski): This legislation raises the minimum age of purchase and possession of many semiautomatic firearms —including handguns and rifles— to 21.
- Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act, HB 27 (Reps. Chandler and Garratt): This legislation allows law enforcement officers and health care professionals to report warning signs so that law enforcement can seek an extreme risk protection order.
- Firearm Industry Accountability Act, HB 114 (Rep. Chandler): This legislation requires gun industry members to take proactive measures to prevent thefts and unlawful sales. It also changes the state statute to allow gun manufacturers to be held liable for harms resulting from their irresponsible practices.
Among the testimonies heard today in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, lawmakers heard from Lazarus Letcher, a survivor of hate-motivated gun violence and volunteer with Moms Demand Action who shared their survivor story and told lawmakers, “My attack terrified my community. Pride events increased security and added self-defense classes. The children on my block did not want to leave their houses. The innocence of my safe neighborhood was shattered.” Lazarus added on the importance of banning assault weapons that, “My life wasn’t taken that day, and I refuse to let my attacker take my voice. Assault weapons have no place in New Mexico. Let’s make our state a true sanctuary, safer for all.”
As we await further legislative action on gun violence prevention bills, Moms Demand Action and Student Demand Action Volunteers will continue to advocate for these measures every step of the way. More information on these gun safety measures is available here.
In an average year, 492 people die by guns. With a rate of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 people, New Mexico has the 6th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. The rate of gun deaths has increased 80% from 2012 to 2021 in New Mexico, compared to a 39% increase nationwide. More information about gun violence in New Mexico is available here.