Tomorrow marks the last day for lawmakers to pass legislation before the end of New Mexico’s legislative session. On average, nearly 433 people are shot and killed with a gun every year and firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in New Mexico. New Mexico also has the seventh-highest rate of gun deaths in the country, and in the last decade the homicide rate has increased over 100%. Although lawmakers won’t advance every gun safety measure on their desks, there are still things they can support this week including:
- Support local violence intervention groups: Lawmakers have a chance to pass HB 96, legislation to create a $10 million violence intervention program fund to provide grants to state agencies, counties, municipalities, and tribal governments – a first for the state. Violence Intervention Program funding supports community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in New Mexico’s hardest-hit neighborhoods. These programs apply a public health model to ending gun violence and keeping New Mexico communities safe. This funding is more important than ever as our communities continue to face devastating upticks in gun violence across the state – including record levels in Albuquerque last year.
- Promote the importance of securely storing firearms: Although lawmakers failed to advance HB 9 this session, legislation to require firearms to be securely stored and away from children, there are more ways lawmakers can promote secure storage. Lawmakers can use America Rescue Plan Act funds to promote secure storage and encourage local school boards in their districts to pass secure storage notifications to alert parents and guardians about the importance of secure storage at home – just like the Sante Fe School District did in 2020. Lawmakers can also promote educational programs, like Be SMART, about how to securely store firearms and help save lives.
New polling shows 65% of New Mexico voters – including 62% of gun owners – support requiring gun owners to securely store firearms when they are not under their direct control in order to prevent children or others from using their gun and harming themselves or others. A new analysis shows that while New Mexico gun laws rank number 16 in the country and the state has strong gun laws, it’s missing a foundational gun safety law, secure firearm storage legislation, as well as funding for local violence intervention groups.
Additional statistics about gun violence in New Mexico are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how New Mexico gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here.