SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, issued the following statements after joining New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico legislators on their announcement of a sweeping gun safety package. The announcement comes as legislators are set to gavel in the new session next week and New Mexico communities continue to feel the effects of gun violence.
A snapshot of the measures being introduced this upcoming legislative session:
- Assault weapons prohibition: first-in-the-nation legislation at the state level modeled after Senator Heinrich’s federal bill, prohibits the sale, transfer, and receipt of gas-operated semi automatic firearms and large-capacity magazines that hold 10 or more rounds of ammunition. This includes weapons commonly used in mass tragedies, and military-style rifles that, especially when paired with large-capacity magazines, allow mass shooters to unleash destructive, rapid-fire barrages on unsuspecting victims in seconds.
- Raising the minimum age of purchase: Under federal law, a person must be 21 to buy a handgun, or 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun, from a federally licensed gun dealer. New Mexico law currently allows people as young as 19 to possess handguns, and the state has no age restrictions for the possession of rifles and shotguns. This legislation raises the minimum age of purchase and possession of many semi automatic firearms —including handguns and rifles— to 21.
- Implementing Waiting Periods: legislation to strengthen the state’s gun safety laws by requiring to create a 14-day waiting period on all firearm purchases to ensure firearms aren’t being purchased during a moment of an acute mental health crisis that could result in the person harming themselves or others.
“Gun Violence is an epidemic and state governments cannot afford to stay idle,” said Monisha Henley, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Our data has shown time and time again that strong gun safety laws work and the common-sense measures announced today will save countless lives. But this effort requires the collective efforts of all of us coming together. We are grateful for Representatives Reena Szczepanski and Andrea Romero’s partnership and leadership on this issue and for Governor Lujan Grisham commitment in making New Mexico safer from gun violence.”
“The time has come to break the vicious cycle of gun violence in New Mexico,” said Cheryl Haase, a volunteer with the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action. “For far too long, our communities have witnessed the horrific effects of assault weapons on our streets – thanks to our Governor’s commitment to this fight, these deadly weapons will not have a home in New Mexico anymore. We are excited to continue working with the legislature and Governor Lujan Grisham to get these bills across the finish line and put an end to the gun violence crisis as we know it.”
“Governor Lujan Grisham’s announcement of a sweeping gun safety package to kick off the state legislative session is exactly the kind of energy we need in 2024,” said Ivan Torres, a volunteer leader with the St. John’s College Students Demand Action chapter. “Young people in New Mexico are fed up with the continued presence of gun violence in our communities. It’s stealing the lives and dreams of an entire generation, but these bills can change that. We’ll do everything we can to make sure these gun safety laws get through the legislature and to the Governor’s desk.”
Lawmakers will be returning to Santa Fe this upcoming Tuesday to gavel in session. 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.
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.