Diane Feinstein is introducing a bill in the US Senate to try to ban assault weapons.
Now, here in New Mexico, state Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-Albququerque) says he’ll introduce his own bill aimed at closing what gun control advocates call the “gun show loophole.”
“Our Wild West days are over,” Rep. Garcia said in a statement Friday (Jan. 4) promoting his legislation that would require background checks for those who have felony records or have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent.
“This will help curb the flow of readily available guns and assault weapons,” Garcia said at a Roundhouse news conference.
But if the bill passed would it really prevent mass shootings such as the incident last month in Newtown, Conn.? After all, Connecticut has very strict gun control laws on the books.
“If we’re able to keep one individual from being injured,” Garcia said, “one individual from being killed because of our lack of intestinal fortitude to provide for background checks on the purchaes of a weapon at gun show, to provide background checks upon the purchase of a weapon by an individual seller, if it’s just one person who is not injured or one person is who not killed, that itself is an accomplishment.”
Garcia’s proposed bill — called the Firearm Transfer Act — would require background checks at gun shows in New Mexico as well as instituting background checks on those who buy guns in private transactions.
The legislation would have the Department of Public Safety establish a hotline that would be open seven days a week to respond to background checks made at gun shows and private transactions.
Garcia said he didn’t have an approximate figure on the cost of his bill but “we have a sense it will not be that expensive,” he said. “There’s already a focus on the part of the (Department of Public Safety) to address the key elements.”
The 60-day legislative session begins on Jan. 15 and Garcia says he will introduce his bill Jan. 16.
Gun control laws haven’t had much of any success in New Mexico in recent years. When asked to judge his bill’s chances of becoming law, Garcia said, “We’re hopeful for the best outcome. That’s not to say there won’t be obstacles (but) we’re willing to work with the opposition.”
Here’s our video of Garcia talking about the bill and being asked about whether it would really make a difference: