SANTA FE (KRQE) - With outcry across the nation to end gun violence New Mexico's state representatives made their opinions clear Wednesday backing an expansion of background checks.
The bill that would require background checks at gun shows passed the full House.
It's a compromised bill the governor has said she will sign.
It took about two hours of floor debate to get to a vote, but when all was said and done the vote wasn't in doubt.
Forty-three state reps said yes to the Firearms Transfer Act, a bill that would mandate criminal background checks at gun shows but would not require checks for private sales elsewhere.
Twenty-six representatives voted against the bill.
If passed by both houses and signed by the Gov. Susana Martinez, New Mexico would be the 18th state to have restrictions on private sales at gun shows.
The bill also requires the state to better report those found mentally ill to the feds so that information can appear in those background checks.
The proposal was introduced by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, but was stuck in committee before Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, reached out with a compromise amendment.
But compromise or not, there was still fierce debate on the issue.
"There are some 20,000 gun laws that are on the books federally," Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, said on the House floor. "We have very few in the state, and the reason is they're all regulated federally.
"We need to leave it there."
"Background checks are a good thing; responsibility is a good thing," countered Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces. "This is not about insulting gun owners."
The bill now heads to the Senate.
Anyone who doesn't get a background check before selling a gun could be charged with a misdemeanor.
When the bill goes to the Senate, it always has the option of changing it.
Both the House and Senate must agree on the same language before the bill can be sent to the governor for her signature or veto.
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