The New Mexico chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB 4, a bill to eliminate qualified immunity in the state and create accountability for police misconduct. Between 2016 and 2020, New Mexico had the second highest rate of people killed by police in the country.
“We can’t end gun violence without addressing police violence,” said Deborah Baca, a volunteer leader with the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It’s no secret police violence has been a problem in our state, but today our lawmakers took an important step in the right direction. Relative to the state population, more people are killed in police shootings in New Mexico than in almost any other state, and taking action to clear the barriers to accountability is a critical step toward preventing future tragedies.”
Qualified immunity makes it nearly impossible for civilians who are hurt or killed to sue law enforcement after a constitutional violation has happened. For decades, qualified immunity has been one of many institutional barriers to accountability — and to meaningfully reducing the unacceptable toll of police violence.
Research shows that police violence disproportionately impacts Black and Latino people across the country. In fact, in the last decade, Black people were two times and Latino people were one and a half times as likely to be killed by police in New Mexico.
Nationally, 95 percent of people killed by police are killed with guns, and 98% of killings by police between 2013-2020 did not result in an officer being charged. Every year, police in the U.S. shoot and kill more than 1,000 people. On an average day, police shoot and kill three people.
More information about police violence is available here. Additional information on gun violence in New Mexico is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how New Mexico’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.