Here’s What To Watch For So Far That Impacts Your Rights
Dear New Mexico Second Amendment Supporter:
The New Mexico Legislature convened for its 2021 Regular Session on Tuesday, January 19. During the 60-day session, the Roundhouse will be closed to the public. Committee meetings will be webcast on http://www.nmlegis.gov and testimony for and against bills will be taken virtually via Zoom. Your NRA-ILA will closely monitor legislation affecting the rights of gun owners and sportsmen and will alert you as to when and how you can make your voices heard on these bills.
Prefiling of legislation has been going on since January 4, and there are already a number of measures you need to be aware of. But first — one that has not yet been filed.
Expansion of Red Flag Gun Confiscation Law
On a Facebook Live virtual town hall this weekend, Rep. Joy Garratt (D-ABQ) stated that she and Rep. Daymon Ely (D-ABQ), the original authors of Senate Bill 5, which passed during the 2020 session, are drafting legislation to tweak the state’s extreme risk protection order law “so that law enforcement can use it more easily and directly.” While the measure has not yet been introduced and no language is currently available to review, we can only guess these changes will result in even less due process and more firearm confiscation. Call and email your State Representatives and urge them to OPPOSE any expansion of the state’s red flag gun confiscation law. Contact information for your State House member can be found here.
NRA-ILA will notify you when this bill is introduced.
Anti-Trapping Measure Set for Committee Hearing Tuesday Morning
On Tuesday, January 26, at 8:00am, the Senate Conservation Committee will hold a virtual hearing on Senate Bill 32, a measure to ban the use of traps or snares on public lands. The measure does exempt hunting with firearms and archery equipment, but many sportsmen and agricultural partners that are Second Amendment supporters are concerned about eliminating a traditional wildlife management tool, especially after the New Mexico Game Commission adopted and implemented new trapping regulations just a little over a year ago. These include mandatory education for anyone purchasing a trapping license and new setbacks requiring a half-mile distance from designated trailheads, roadside rest areas, picnic areas and public campgrounds or boat launches. Such a ban micromanages state wildlife biologists rather than allowing them to make the best decisions for wildlife management based on science and biological necessity. You can view the bill text here.
If you wish to weigh in on this measure, contact information for Senate Conservation Committee members can be found here.
To participate in this hearing you need to send an email with Senate Bill 32 Virtual Testimony in the subject line to SCONC@nmlegis.gov, along with the following in the body of the email: your name, any entity you are representing (or if you’re representing yourself), the bill number SB 32, whether you are FOR or AGAINST the bill and the best email address to reach you, by Monday, January 25, at 3:00pm. You will then be contacted by the committee’s Zoom Operator with instructions on how to join the virtual meeting on Tuesday morning.
Your Tax Dollars at Work — For Gun Control??
Local gun control activists are actively supporting House Bill 102 sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey (D-ABQ), given the relatively benign title “Violence Intervention Prevention Act.” Violence prevention is a laudable goal. However, legislation that uses your tax dollars to fund programs which focus solely on firearms, rather than addressing root causes of crime, and to promote a gun control agenda, should be viewed with extreme skepticism.
HB 102 appropriates $10 million dollars from the New Mexico general fund to the Violence Intervention Prevention fund. The state Department of Health, an agency already overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout, would administer the fund and award grants to municipalities and tribal governments for programs that focus on reducing or deterring “gun violence and aggravated assault” — to the exclusion of other types of crimes or their root causes, such as alcohol or drug abuse. Fifty percent of the grant must be used to contract with “community-based organizations,” which are undefined in the bill but are often a euphemism for gun control groups. Additionally, the bill creates an 8-member committee to report to an interim legislative committee on strategies to prevent firearm injury and death, again, to the exclusion of other types of injury or causes of death, or any root causes. No doubt a laundry list of gun control recommendations would emerge from that process.
Getting a toe-hold in a state-sponsored grant program, creating a state-sanctioned committee to further an agenda, and using your tax dollars to do it, is straight out of the gun control playbook. HB 102 has been referred to the House Judiciary and House Appropriations & Finance Committees. Please contact the members of these committees and tell them you don’t want your tax dollars to finance gun control efforts in HB 102. Contact information for committee members can be found here and here.
Confusion About Anti-Terrorism Legislation
There has been a great deal of misinformation circulating about House Bill 70, by Rep Dayan Hochman-Vigil, and its impact on the firearms training community. NRA-ILA worked with state Rep. Bill Rehm (R-ABQ) to draft and distribute the explanation below about current law and the proposed changes to it, to clear up some of the confusion. You can view the bill text here.
New Mexico’s current Anti-Terrorism act dates back to 1990. NMSA 30-20A-3 prohibits (1) teaching or demonstrating the use, application or making of any firearm, destructive device or technique capable of causing injury or death to any person; and (2) training in, practicing or receiving instruction in the use of any firearm, destructive device or technique capable of causing injury or death to any person, where it is done with an intent that the knowledge or skill taught, demonstrated or gained be unlawfully used in furtherance of a civil disorder. A “civil disorder” is defined under current law as “any planned act of violence by an assemblage of two or more persons with the intent to cause damage or injury to another individual or his property.” Proposed HB 70 would actually make the crime more specific. It would require that the activities mentioned above be conducted with the intent of being unlawfully used to commit terrorism in furtherance of a civil disorder. “Terrorism” under the bill requires committing an act that causes great bodily harm or death, not just “damage or injury” in the existing definition of “civil disorder.“
Existing law NMSA 30-20A-4 (which was not brought forth for amending, so it does not appear in HB 70), contains important exemptions to New Mexico’s Anti-Terrorism act which will carry over to any new law. In other words, nothing in the current or proposed Anti-Terrorism law makes illegal any activity protected by the state constitution’s right to keep and bear arms, and specifically, those of “any hunting, rifle, pistol, shotgun, sportsmen’s or conservation club,” those “lawfully engaged in on a shooting range” or “lawfully undertaken pursuant to any shooting school or other program of instruction,” “intended to teach the safe handling, including marksmanship, or use of firearms, archery equipment or other weapons or techniques to individuals or groups,” activity “that teaches the use of martial arts or arms for the defense of home, person or property” or the lawful use of deadly force, or “that is otherwise lawful.” Again, these exemptions are not being changed under HB 70, something that should be emphasized to those in the gun community who are concerned about the bill.
HB 70 has been referred to the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Appropriations & Finance Committee, but has not yet been set for a hearing. NRA-ILA will continue to monitor this bill as it makes its way through the legislative process.