On Monday, New Mexico joined a list of 18 states, along with Washington D.C., that have enacted an extreme risk law, after the bill was signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in February. New Mexico’s extreme risk law creates a way to petition a court for temporary removal of a firearm when there is evidence someone poses an extreme risk, either to self or others.
“My life was never the same after my brother’s attempt to take his own life with a gun,” said Nina Stephenson, a volunteer with the New Mexico Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “In a moment of crisis, access to a firearm can make the difference between life and death. We worked tirelessly this year, alongside our partners, to help pass an extreme risk law in New Mexico, but this policy is only effective when local communities know about it. We’ll continue our work by raising awareness about how it can help people when a loved one is in crisis.”
The enactment of this legislation comes at a time when concerns from advocates about elevated risks of suicide continue to weigh heavily on families and communities amid the coronavirus pandemic. “One Thing You Can Do” is a campaign that educates the public about how to use extreme risk laws to help keep loved ones safe.
- Under New Mexico’s extreme risk law, law enforcement is able to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order to temporarily remove a firearm from a person in crisis. The enacting of the bill also comes just one year after Gov. Lujan Grisham signed legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales.
- Extreme risk laws have been shown to be an effective tool in reducing the risk of firearm suicide. Every year, nearly 261 people die by gun suicide in New Mexico, with an average of 34 hours between gun suicide deaths. In the United States, about 90 percent of suicide attempts using a gun end in death, compared to four percent of suicide attempts that do not involve a firearm.
- Extreme risk laws help save lives by creating a way to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies. Interventions in states with extreme risk laws have already been shown to prevent potential tragedies, such as mass shootings, shootings on school grounds, and firearm suicides.
Learn more about extreme risk laws here, and more information about gun violence in New Mexico is available here.
If you have any questions on extreme risk laws or would like to speak with a volunteer with the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.