March 13, 2017

Background Check Legislation Stalls in House Committee

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Legislation to help keep guns out of dangerous hands hit a snag in the House Judiciary Committee today where it was tabled on a 7-6 vote. The motion to table ends debate and keeps the bill in committee, essentially ensuring that the bill will not make it to the House floor for a vote.

House Bill 50, the original legislation, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on February 10th and on to the house floor but was sent back by the bill’s sponsor, Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos), to have amendments made. The amendments targeted complications with the bill’s language on ‘gun transfers’ between family members and close friends. The substitute legislation, HB548, scraps the ‘gun transfers’ language and focuses the intention on requiring background checks for gun sales between strangers.

Since the legislation has already been heard and debated before the committee, testimony was limited to five speakers for each side. The arguments made against the bill were based on infringing upon second amendment rights, the difficulty of enforcing the proposed law, and the claim that criminals will get firearms despite the law.

In support of the legislation, Karen Watkins a local member of Moms Demand Action, noted in response: “States across the country have this law on the books and enforce it. And I’m sure their law enforcement agencies are no better than ours.” She continued to respond by asking rhetorically, “People continue to drive drunk, should we take drunk driving laws off of the books?”

After over an hour of debate, a motion was made to table the legislation. The motion passed on a 7 to 6, essentially ending progress on the bill for the session. The senate companion bill, SB48, is still alive on the senate.

A no vote was to continue debate and keep the bill alive.

Title Name Party Vote
Representative Gail Chasey D  N
Representative Javier Martínez D  N
Representative Eliseo Lee Alcon D  Y
Representative Cathrynn N. Brown R  Y
Representative Zachary J. Cook R  Y
Representative Jim Dines R  Y
Representative Brian Egolf D  N
Representative Daymon Ely D  N
Representative Nate Gentry R  Y
Representative Georgene Louis D  N
Representative Matthew McQueen D  N
Representative Greg Nibert R  Y
Representative William “Bill” R. Rehm R  Y



Additional GVP Legislation Update

Also heard during the committee was SB259, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, granting a judge permission to order the surrender of a firearm by a person arrested for domestic violence. It would also bar that individual from purchasing any new firearms for a set amount of time. The legislation passed with bipartisan support on a vote of 9 to 4.

The bill will head back to the senate for  make a final stop on the House Floor for a vote from the full chamber and if passed will head to the Governor for

Title Name Party Vote
Representative Gail Chasey D Y
Representative Javier Martínez D Y
Representative Eliseo Lee Alcon D Y
Representative Cathrynn N. Brown R N
Representative Zachary J. Cook R N
Representative Jim Dines R Y
Representative Brian Egolf D Y
Representative Daymon Ely D Y
Representative Nate Gentry R Y
Representative Georgene Louis D Y
Representative Matthew McQueen D Y
Representative Greg Nibert R N
Representative William “Bill” R. Rehm R N