ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque city councilors introduced three bills Wednesday afternoon that would affect just about every gun owner in Albuquerque.
The proposed laws would require people in Albuquerque to keep their guns locked in a safe at home or with a secure device in the car when they are not with them. Another bill would ban guns from all city property.
City Councilor Pat Davis said the goal of the bills is to set a higher standard for gun owners.
The first one charges gun owners with a misdemeanor if they leave firearms unattended and unsecured. The bill states that almost 90 guns a month were stolen from cars and homes in Albuquerque in 2017, and highlights how many stolen guns end up being used to commit crimes.
Under the new bill, it would be a crime to leave a firearm unattended without a gun lock on it or in a checked box or safe. The bill states that measures like this reduce youth suicide and accidental deaths and helps keep guns out of criminals’ hands.
“This is not something that lets APD go inspect every gun, but if something bad happens — and we saw this last year where a Rio Rancho student took his parents’ gun, took it to school and started shooting, his parents were charged under state felony laws — and that is the same way it would work here,” Davis said.
Davis said there may be provisions that would allow a judge to dismiss charges if gun owners show they took steps to buy a lock or safe like a fix-it ticket.
Some gun owners worry about gray areas in ideas like these.
“What if a gun owner has it stored properly, yet the vehicle was stolen?” John Mallory asked. “Who does that fall upon? Does it fall upon the vehicle and gun owner now being charged with a crime?”
The second bill makes it illegal to bring a gun onto any city property, including City Hall, libraries, community centers and parks.
The bill cites increased threats to public facilities around the country, including two instances in 2015 and 2016 when City Hall was disrupted due to gun scares. Davis believes the sight of guns at public meetings can intimidate people and keep them from participating.
The third bill adds to the city’s school threats ordinance and makes it a specific crime to make shooting threats against any public building including stores and government offices.
The bills are expected to be assigned to committee hearings later this year.