New Mexico

Bills proposed by New Mexico lawmakers take aim at gun control laws

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - Just a month before the upcoming legislative session begins, the bills are flowing in. With the Democrats firmly in control in the Roundhouse, gun control will be front and center.

Gun laws and gun sales have been a recurring topic across the country, including right here in New Mexico.

In the run-up to the state legislative session, state Democratic Senators Richard Martinez and Peter Wirth have filed a bill that would make it harder to buy a gun.

It says if guns are privately sold, the buyer must go through a federal background check, and if the gun is sold without one, the buyer and seller could be charged with a misdemeanor.

A House bill proposed by Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia calls for background checks for buyers at gun shows.

"I'm for it," said local Bill Lagattuta.

"It's intrusive, that's the problem with this bill," said local Andy Montoya.

Locals who KRQE News 13 spoke with have different opinions.

"The reality is, it doesn't stop or curb any kind of gun violence whatsoever," said Montoya, who is also a firearms trainer and NRA member.

Montoya said these laws aren't necessary because criminals would still get their hands on guns.

"They're stealing these, they're selling these guns for pennies on the dollar out on the street in the black market," said Montoya. "They're not gonna go to a gun show and spend full price, $500 for an average medium-size gun when they can buy a stolen out on the street for $100 bucks."

Others think the bills would help deter crime.

"And they can say, you know what...going through this background check, I don't really feel comfortable you know...like I'm not gonna sell this gun," said local Charles Morales.

However, both sides of this divisive topic agree New Mexico needs to lower gun violence.

"So this universal background this is a farce and it's not going to save anybody," said Montoya.

"I think there's too much violence in the United States with guns and we need to somehow have stricter laws about it," said Lagattuta.

What isn't clear in these bills: how law enforcement would know if someone sells a gun without requiring a background check.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the three state lawmakers behind these proposed gun laws and none of them got back to us.


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