Albuquerque City Council passes only 1 of 3 gun bills

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque city councilors voted Monday night on a trio of gun bills that would affect just about every gun owner in the city. One would require people to keep their guns locked up when not in use.

City Council President Pat Davis said the goal of the bills is to set a higher standard for gun owners, but only one of the three actually passed. “It is the job of this city council to step up on behalf of public safety in the community,” Davis said.

One of the three approved bills now considers it a crime to make a criminal threat of mass violence. The bill will also add to the city’s school threats ordinance. This means if someone makes shooting threats against any public building including stores and government offices, they will be charged for the specific crime.

The state legislature considered a similar bill, but it ended up stalling in committee in this year’s regular session. “Until our legislature catches up, this is something the city can do to keep our city safe,” Davis said.

The other two bills failed. One would have made it a misdemeanor to leave a firearm unattended without a gun lock or in a safe.

Davis said more than 1,000 guns were stolen from vehicles in Albuquerque in 2018. The goal was to keep guns out of criminals’ hands and away from young people, but councilors raised concerns about its constitutionality and enforcement. Some councilors said they received 600 emails from people who were against the bill and only two for it.

“It seems strange we would put requirements on law-abiding citizens and yet we have criminals who have guns,” Councilor Trudy Jones said. “We, the honest law-abiding citizens, would be in the same category if we would not comply.”

The last bill, which makes it illegal to bring a gun onto any city property, was also shot down as councilors said responsible gun owners have the right to defend themselves. “I don’t feel safe,” Councilor Brook Bassan said. “I want to be sure when we are in council chambers, if somebody comes in to attack us, I hope the good guys are there to protect us.”

The Mass Violence Ordinance will now go to Mayor Tim Keller next week. If he signs it, it would go into effect in mid-October. Davis said the bill is also a tool the Albuquerque Police Department can use to subpoena social media companies to track down where threats are coming from.

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