New Mexico lawmaker proposes teen curfew law

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Lawmakers in Santa Fe are taking another run at a curfew law. One legislator insists it would help stop teens from committing crime in the night.

This is House Minority Leader Nate Gentry’s second attempt at this curfew idea, and he doesn’t plan on giving up.

“I don’t think any good can come of a 13-year-old child roaming the streets at 3:00 in the morning,” said Rep. Gentry.

The idea is to give cities and counties the option to enact a curfew between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m. for teens under 16-years old.

Over the last 20 years though, curfew bills have failed to pass 20 times. That includes last session, again sponsored by Rep. Gentry, the bill died in a Senate committee.

Rep. Gentry says he’s not giving up because he made a commitment to the family of Steven Gerecke.

Gerecke was killed in June 2015 when he confronted a group of teens breaking into cars, although some were over 16-years old at the time.

KRQE News 13 spoke with Rep. Deborah Armstrong who is against the curfew.

“I think it unnecessarily criminalizes, if you will, kids who are well behaved. They’re not doing anything wrong,” said Rep. Deborah Armstrong.

Rep. Armstrong says existing laws already punish teens committing a crime. She also says a curfew would only tie-up law enforcement agencies with already low numbers of officers.

In 2016, Gentry’s curfew bill easily got through the Republican-led House. Of course, the power in the House has since shifted back to the Democrats.

This year’s curfew bill will go to committee later this week.

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