New Mexico House votes to close gun show loophole

SANTA FE, New Mexico Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:26pm EST

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SANTA FE, New Mexico (Reuters) - New Mexico's House of Representatives approved tighter background checks on firearms buyers at gun shows, joining other states in considering more restrictions on weapons following the Connecticut school massacre.

Representatives voted 43-26 on Wednesday to advance the measure, which was expected to be approved by the Democratic-controlled state Senate and Republican Governor Susana Martinez, a gun rights advocate who has said she would sign the bill if it reaches her desk.

"She does not believe there should be a loophole where felons or the mentally ill can avoid a background check by purchasing a firearm at a gun show," said Enrique Knell, the governor's spokesman.

The bill would close a loophole that allows firearms sales between private parties at gun shows without a background check and would require gun shows to have a federal firearms licensed dealer present to process the checks.

The bill exempts people who have a concealed carry permit and no checks would be required under the proposal for sales of antique or replica weapons that do not use cartridges, such as muzzle-loading rifles, shotguns or pistols.

The bill also aims to ensure court records of people with mental illness are reported to the instant background check system for screening gun-buyers.

The measure had advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee with the support of nine Democrats and four Republicans.

"Republicans have opposed most if not all Democratic initiatives in that committee, so it was notable to say the least," said Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, an advocacy group that supports the gun control proposal.

State Representative Bill McCamley, a Democrat and gun rights advocate who supported the measure, said it did not infringe on legitimate gun ownership rights.

"I'm a firearms owner and the times I've had to undergo a background check it took less than five minutes for me to get that check done," McCamley said. "We're not talking anything onerous or a blockade of anyone's rights."

Josh Kennedy, an organizer for Gun Rights Across America New Mexico, said he believed the bill would infringe on Second Amendment rights to bear arms and would complicate matters for people whose profession is not selling firearms.

"This bill is not taking any step forward to a safer America. It's just monitoring and that's an invasion of privacy," Kennedy said.

Colorado Democrats recently approved a bill that requires universal background checks on all private sales. The state already required background checks at gun shows.

New York, which already had some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, in January expanded an assault weapons ban and limits on high-capacity magazines, and strengthened mental health reporting rules.

(Editing by David Bailey, Daniel Trotta and Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (2)
NateG wrote:
All these restrictions on people that have mental illness is going to do nothing but stop people who need mental help, from seeking help, in fear of losing their American rights. I myself have lost my mother, my little brother, and watched my father go from a veteran who ran 10 miles everyday become 100% disabled working as a correctional officer. I have long time been wanting to seek help for these issues which I have a very hard dealing with. Now from what’s been going I won’t dare to seek help in fear I will lose my rights as an American and be treated in a similar way as a felon for seeking help for the issues I mentioned. What’s worse about this, is every person who serves our country in the military has a high chance of loosing their rights to arms if they do not hide the mental issues they received in serving our country. What a way to reward our heroes, send them in to situations that will most likely give them some kind of mental issue and then discipline them for having those issues by taking away their rights. Yea perfect reasoning let’s punish those who need help and give them more reasons to hide their issues. If your so against guns move to Mexico, guns are outright illegal there, go take a visit there and see how well that law is working for them.

Feb 13, 2013 8:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DeannaTx wrote:
You’re aware of the type of mental issues their talking about, right? If you suffer from the likes of untreated bi-polar disorder or untreated schizophrenia ( it doesn’t include the likes of depression and so on) then you might have reason to worry. If not, then you don’t.
It’s one thing to have an issue with family members you’ve lost or life’s struggles.. we all have stresses we deal with. It’s another to have been diagnosed with an actual mental illness of the severity to count in this. If every life stress counted.. none of our military would be classified as mentally qualified to serve either.
So this needs to be kept in a realistic perspective.

But really, would you want someone who suffers from a serious mental disorder having access to a lethal weapon?

As far as people not seeking help in order to own a gun in limited cases it will be the case they’ll avoid getting help. But I highly doubt that will become a major issue. If a life is saved by this, and we do need to look at measures to stop this out of control bloodshed which seems to have taken America by storm, then its worth it. One single life has more value than any of the arguments.

Feb 14, 2013 12:16am EST  --  Report as abuse
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