This story appears in both The Paper and the Santa Fe New Mexican through a partnership to bring our readers the best in reporting from the legislature.
By Nathan Brown/Santa Fe New Mexican
Another bill to impose a 14-day waiting period on gun purchases made it out of the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee on Sunday.
Senate Bill 427 passed on a 6-1 vote. It would do the same thing as House Bill 100, which made it out of two committees with a do-pass recommendation last month but hasn’t yet been brought to the House floor.
New Mexico does not currently have a waiting period to buy a firearm. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, said 14 days would put New Mexico at the high end of waiting periods. While 11 states have waiting period laws, only Hawaii has one as long as 14 days.
“We feel confident that a waiting period is something that would meet constitutional scrutiny under the existing case law as it stands today,” he said.
Supporters said the cooling-off period required by the bill would reduce both violent crime and suicides. Sen. Brenda McKenna, D-Corrales, said several of her relatives have died by suicide with a gun.
“All of them had easy access to a firearm in the home,” she said.
Opponents said the bill wouldn’t do anything to reduce crime and would be a hardship for law-abiding gun owners, particularly people in rural areas who would have to travel twice to buy a gun.
“It’s kind of a feel-good bill that’s not going to solve much of anything,” said Winston Dorian.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called upon lawmakers in her State of the State address to pass several gun control measures this year. So far, a bill to penalize gun owners whose guns get into the hands of children who use them to commit crimes has passed both the House and Senate, although the chambers need to agree on amendments to it before it can go to the governor’s desk.
None of the others, including the waiting period bills, an assault weapons ban and magazine capacity limits, has gotten a floor vote yet.
The committee also voted 6-1 to advance Senate Bill 428, which would amend the Unfair Practices Act to sue gun sellers who advertise guns or other products as being legal in New Mexico or the U.S. when they’re not, or sell illegal guns.
Both votes were along party lines, with Sen. David Gallegos, R-Eunice, voting against both.