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NRA-ILA: Institute
                        for Legislative Action


New Mexico: House Committee Approves HB 50, NRA-Opposed Legislation Criminalizing Private Firearm Transfers



Make Sure You Continue Contacting Your State Lawmakers in Opposition to HB 50 & SB 48

In spite of opponents clearly outnumbering supporters at Saturday's public hearing, the New Mexico House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee voted 3-1 to approve House Bill 50, NRA-opposed legislation banning private firearms sales and transfers sponsored by state Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos) and being pushed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s national gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.  State Reps. Eliseo Lee Alcon (D-Milan), Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-ABQ) and Deborah Armstrong (D-ABQ) all voted "yes" on the measure and the lone "no" vote was by state Rep. Bob Woolley (R-Roswell).

Earlier in the week, the Senate Public Affairs Committee approved an identical measure on a 5-3 party line vote.  Each measure now moves on to the Judiciary Committee of the respective chamber, but neither have been scheduled for a public hearing at this time. 

Please continue contacting your state Representative and urging them to OPPOSE HB 50.  Also keep calling and emailing your state Senator and asking them to OPPOSE SB 48.

Thank you to the NRA members who attended the hearing and spoke against this bill that will cost law-abiding citizens time, freedom and money.  We also appreciate the dedicated officers representing the New Mexico Sheriffs Association who testified that this measure would be unenforceable and do nothing to stop criminals.   It should also be mentioned that nearly a dozen House Republican Caucus members who don't serve on this committee attended the hearing this weekend to represent the views of their constituents who were unable to make the long drive to Santa Fe to oppose these bills: House Republican Whip Rod Montoya (Farmington), House Republican Caucus Chair Candy Ezzell (Roswell), State Rep. David Gallegos (Eunice), State Rep. Greg Nibert (Roswell), State Rep. Yvette Herrell (Alamogordo), State Rep. Rick Little (Chaparral), State Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage (Kirtland), State Rep. Jim Townsend (Artesia), State Rep. Paul Bandy (Aztec), State Rep. Rebecca Dow (T Or C) and State Rep. Larry Larranaga (ABQ).

Everytown and the media continue to mislead lawmakers that this bill simply closes the non-existent “gun show loophole” and regulates online firearms sales.  In fact, this measure is far more expansive

Senate Bill 48House Bill 50 prohibits you from selling or gifting your firearms to any distant relatives, friends, neighbors, business associates, or fellow gun club members without government permission.  The bill would criminalize nearly all private firearm sales between individuals unless they are conducted through a licensed dealer involving extensive federal paperwork, background check and payment of an undetermined fee.  Licensed dealers maintain paperwork recording these transfers for twenty years and then turn it over to the federal government if they ever go out of business. 

SB 48/ HB 50 similarly restrict temporary firearm transfers or loans -- not just gun sales.  There are a limited number of exemptions, including transfers taking place exclusively at shooting ranges, while hunting or trapping, or during an organized competition or performance, or any time the transferor remains present the entire duration of the transfer.  These exemptions are confusing, raise serious questions about the bills’ scope, compliance and enforceability, and highlight the overreach of the measures.  Activities that could be criminalized under the bills without going through an FFL and obtaining government permission:

  • An individual loaning his or her significant other a handgun for self-protection when homes or apartments in her neighborhood have been burglarized;
  • A member of the military who is deployed overseas and wants to store his or her personal firearms with a trusted friend;
  • Someone borrowing their co-worker’s gun to take on a hunting trip, to the local range or to shoot on BLM land when the colleague cannot accompany him or her on the excursion.
  • Working ranch employees possessing and transporting ranch-owned rifles in vehicles or on their person.
  • Volunteers staging auction or raffle items for a non-profit, charitable fundraising event where a firearm is displayed.

SB 48/ HB 50 also require the return of loaned firearms to original owners be conducted through a licensed dealer, with completion of federal paperwork and payment of an undetermined fee. 

Please click the “Take Action” button above to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose Senate Bill 48 and House Bill 50 when they come up for a vote.  To locate who represents you, click here.

                                Institute for Legislative Action






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 Be aware the New Mexico Legislature will be in session on Tuesday, January 17!  They have already introduced legislation to require background checks for all firearms transactions including between family members and friends, and even owners when they retake possession from friends and family!


Headlines Misrepresent True Scope of Proposed Restrictions

The headline which appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican yesterday, "Lawmakers Vow to Close Gun Show Loophole" and the branding of gun control bills filed in advance of the 2017 Regular Session of the New Mexico Legislature are misleading and downright deceptive.  In fact, the words "gun show" are never even used in the proposed legislation.

Senate Bill 48, brought to Senators Richard Martinez (D) & Peter Wirth (D) by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's national gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, and the House companion, House Bill 50 by Stephanie Garcia Richard (D), go far beyond the proposed gun show restrictions the Legislature has previously debated.  SB 48 & HB 50 would criminalize nearly all private firearm sales between individuals, regardless of where those transactions take place, and require them to be conducted through a federal firearms licensed dealer with extensive government paperwork and a payment of an undetermined fee.  Limited exceptions are only made for sales to immediate family members, law enforcement and the military.

Additionally, the measures not only restrict gun sales (which, in most minds, would involve an exchange of currency or a permanent change of ownership), but also the transfer of firearms.  Because that term is specifically defined to mean "sell, furnish, give, lend, deliver or otherwise provide, with or without [monetary or other] consideration," these bills would treat gifts, loans, exchanges and other temporary changes in possession of a firearm as the equivalent of a sale by a firearms dealer, unless the transfer falls within one of the narrow exceptions. 

After voters in Maine defeated an Everytown-backed November ballot initiative to impose so-called "universal" background checks on private gun sales and transfers in that state, and after watching Nevada voters only approve a similar measure by a fraction of one percent of votes despite Bloomberg and Everytown spending twenty million dollars on that effort, gun control advocates are attempting to garner support for this misguided proposal in New Mexico by excluding some "temporary" firearm transfers from the acts' provisions.  Their list of exceptions (transfers taking place at shooting ranges, while hunting or trapping, during an organized competition or performance, or any time the transferor remains present the entire time the transfer is taking place) only serves to highlight the overreach of the bills and raise endless questions about their scope, compliance and enforceability. 

For example, under the language of these bills as filed, if "Mike" temporarily loaned his firearm to his close friend "Tim" to shoot while both were present together at the local firing range, a background check might not be required.  If Mike were to loan that same gun to Tim so that Tim could take it to practice shooting at the same range without Mike being present, a background check would be required for the initial transfer, and then another separate check would be necessary in order for Tim to legally return Mike his own firearm.  If Tim wanted to target shoot with Mike's firearm on Tim's own property or out on BLM land without Mike being with him, a background check would be required for the initial transfer and for the return of the gun.  Failure to comply with the background check requirements would trigger misdemeanor or felony-level penalties for temporary firearm transfers between non-exempt family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, fellow gun club members, etc.  

The fact is no background check scheme will ever be "universal," because criminals will simply ignore the law; what these bills would do is cost law-abiding citizens time, money and the freedom to temporarily loan their firearms or privately sell guns from their personal collections to one another.

The New Mexico Legislature convenes for its 2017 Regular Session on Tuesday, January 17.  We will report back to you with more specifics and action items on these restrictive measures once lawmakers return to Santa Fe.

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