Bill requiring background checks for private gun sales heads to governor’s desk

Politics - Government

Monday night was the final showdown for more gun control laws in New Mexico. A Senate bill calling for background checks on private gun sales will be the first gun control bill to hit the governor’s desk after passing the House floor, 42 to 27. 

The debate was surprisingly quiet on Monday night after a lot of dramatic pushback from both sides leading up to the vote. 

“I want to be sure that we are making the laws that we need and this specifically I support 100 percent and I hope those sitting in this room believe the same and vote in the same way,” Rep. Angelica Rubio, D-Las Cruces, said. 

Senate Bill 8, sponsored by Democrats Peter Wirth and Richard Martinez, will make it illegal for someone to sell a gun without doing a federal instant background check. This is targeting private sales from one person to another. 

A buyer or seller will have to pay for that background check through a federal firearm licensee. The only exception is sales between immediate family members. 

House Republicans say this bill wouldn’t stop criminals. 

“But I doubt very seriously that criminals will follow these rules and I believe the criminals will be the ones breaking into my vehicle…stealing my pistol, selling it in the back alley,” Rep. Gail Armstrong, R-Magdalena, said. 

Some Democrats jumped party lines and when it was voted on the Senate floor last month, it barely passed with a 22 to 20 vote. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has said she will sign it into law. 

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