Putting the Ad Into Context
Herrell’s ad references Rep. Torres Small’s 2019 vote in favor of HR-8, also called the “Bipartisan Background Checks Bill.” Herrell’s ad suggests that because Rep. Torres Small voted for the bill, she “sold us out.”
To put it simply, HR-8 would have expanded background checks to include gun sales at gun shows. Currently, a gun buyer must undergo a background check is he purchases a firearm at store or online retailer, but no background check is required if that same person attends a gun show and buys a firearm there. The bill aimed to require background checks for all gun sales.
Immediately after the mass shootings in August 2019, President Donald Trump publicly stated his support for expanding background checks and closing loopholes.
“Oh, I have an appetite for background checks, Pres. Trump told reporters in August 2019. “We’ll be doing background checks, we’re working with Democrats, we’re working with Republicans. We already have strong background checks, but we’re going to be filling in some loopholes.”
On a different occasion, Pres. Trump told reporters, “we have very strong background checks right now, but we have missing areas- areas that don’t complete the whole circle. We’re looking at different things.”
Pres. Trump asked Congress to get to work on laws that would close loopholes, but the National Rifle Association jumped in and the President changed his position. In the end, HR-8 passed through the U.S. House of Representatives with only eight republicans voting with democrats. Once the President vowed to veto the bill, the republican-controlled U.S. Senate refused to consider the bill.
What’s misleading and what’s accurate?
To suggest Rep. Torres Small is against the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution based on her vote on HR-8 is misleading. The bill aimed to close background check loopholes, which the President, at one point, also supported.
“The bill doesn’t prevent anyone from purchasing guns, it wouldn’t prevent anyone from going hunting or going shooting or purchasing bullets,” said Dr. Lonna Atkeson, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico. “I have to say this ad is somewhat misleading.”
Most Americans expect their elected officials to find the right blend of protecting Constitutional Amendments, while also finding solutions to this country’s gun violence epidemic and improving public safety in their communities. USAFACTS.org tracks firearms deaths. Data collected by this organization shows gun deaths have shot up by nearly 50 percent in the last 20 years across the country.
It is accurate for Herrell to claim she has a history of keeping existing gun laws intact. While serving as a New Mexico State legislator, representing the Alamogordo area, Herrell, in 2012, voted in favor of a bill repealing limits on in-state purchase of long guns. In 2013, she voted against a bill requiring background checks on private firearm transfers at gun shows. In 2015, she voted in favor of two bills that would have eliminated refresher courses for gun license holders, and in 2017, she voted against a bill that tried to remove guns from people accused of being domestic violence offenders.