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Gun-control bills in NM fizzling as session nears end

By   /   March 13, 2013  /   No Comments

In the first few weeks of the current 60-day legislative session, gun control measures in New Mexico generated plenty of passionate debate and jam-packed crowds at the Roundhouse.

But only three bills dealing with restricting gun access have been introduced. With three days left in the session, only one remains, and it’s stuck in committee.

“I’m not sure what’s going on,” said Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque. “We’re hopeful it will come up at the next meeting.”

RUNNING OUT OF AMMO?: Gun control bills drew big crowds in the New Mexico statehouse but time may be running out for legislation.

RUNNING OUT OF AMMO?: Gun-control bills drew big crowds in the New Mexico statehouse but time may be running out for legislation.

House Bill 77, aimed at closing what advocates say is the gun show loophole, has been sitting in committee, one step shy of a vote on the Senate floor.

HB 77 passed the House, 43-26, with a handful of Republicans supporting it. Gov. Susana Martinez told reporters she would sign the bill into law because it establishes a procedure to align the state’s mental health and criminal conviction records with the federal instant background check system.

It looked as if the bill was going to zoom through the Senate, but it hasn’t been heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We had to roll three agenda items into one and it became a four-page agenda,” Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española, said Wednesday morning. “We’re trying to pick (the bills) that are easier and I’m afraid HB 77 is going to clog up the whole evening … so if we can, we’ll do it and if we can, we’ll probably (hear) it alone.”

But time is running out. The Judiciary Committee is not meeting again until Thursday, and even if HB77 is heard and voted on then, it probably wound’t reach the Senate floor until Friday.

In addition, since HB 77 was amended in the Senate, it would have to go back to the House for concurrence — the practice of hammering out the differences in the legislation between the two chambers.

The session ends at noon Saturday.

“I trust that the chairman (Martinez) will put it on his agenda as quickly as possible,” Garcia said. “We’re crossing our fingers.”

The only other gun control measures introduced this session were bills that would have restricted assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices in New Mexico and banned firearms in the Roundhouse — except for military, law enforcement and security.

But the assault weapons bill was tabled in a House committee with a Democrat casting the deciding vote; the firearms ban in the Capitol has gone nowhere.

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Since 2010, Rob Nikolewski has covered New Mexico politics and investigated fraud, waste and abuse in government. He also writes an opinion column in the Sunday editions of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rob joined New Mexico Watchdog after 20 years in television as a sports anchor and reporter. He anchored at MSNBC, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Reno and Boise, winning three regional Emmy awards along the way. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio.

  • http://Gadabout-blogalot.com Chuck

    Hopefully it will remain under a pile of progressive scat.

  • John

    Do not bet on it the democrats will pull out all stops to get this bill and others like it passed.

  • dave bonner

    Leave it on the table. Anything that controversial should have plenty of time to be debated, not ram-rodded through in the eleventh hour.

  • Robert Shuttles

    This bill was sent to the Senate floor By Sen. Martinez. It is item #102 on the Senate agenda for March 16, 2013. I just hope that they run out of time before getting to this bill.

  • John

    I think it died was not brought up before the session finished

  • Eric

    I was reading that they are expanding background checks on sales through Internet and family sales. When I bought my gun off the Internet I already had to go through two lengthy background checks before they would even send my gun. This was before they passed this new bill. The way I see it we are wasting money on a new bill. When we already have background checks on Internet sales. It’s funny they are putting restrictions on law abiding citizens, but yet every mass shooting has happened in a gun free zone.

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