Statement Prepared by State Representative Miguel P García
Every 60 Day Session for the last 16 years I have explored the possibility of drafting and introducing legislation that reforms our Gun Laws. I have been overzealous and tackle everything under the sun: ban assault weapons, Criminal & Mentally Adjudicated Background Checks at Gun Shows, prohibit clips that carry more than five cartridges, ban certain ammunitions, etc. Many times I end up drafting the legislation, but it never gets introduced. The obstacles of passing the legislation are unbearable.
This past summer I opened a file in Legislative Council to draft legislation that focuses on Background Checks at Gun Shows, and Background Checks on gun sales between two private individuals. What prompted me to focus the legislation on Background Checks “only” were the following factors.
It is imperative that the State of New Mexico take every precaution and every measure possible to keep our communities and our work sites safe from needless gun violence and devastating and dehumanizing killings of our residents. It is even more compelling that we stop, by way of legislation, the purchase of guns and assault weapons by persons who inconceivably should never posseses firearms—criminals, convicted felons, and mentally incompetent individuals.
To this day, criminals, convicted felons, and mentally adjudicated incompetent persons can walk into most Gun Shows in the United States, and without fear of reprisals can walk out of a Gun Show with an arsenal that competes with the military arsenals of poor Third World countries—no questions asked. To this day, a criminal, a felon, or a mentally incompetent individual can sit at your kitchen table and purchase your cache of Glock’s, 357 magnums, AR-15’s, M-16’s, and AK-47’s by slapping a roll of dollar bills on your hand for your asking price—no questions asked.
Our Wild West days are over. Our Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley days are over. Our no questions asked days are over. Our legislation to require background checks for the mentally and criminally adjudicated at Gun Shows in New Mexico, and the same checks for a private individual purchase, will help curb the flow of readily available guns and assault weapons to individuals most capable of inflicting needless injury and fatality to our unexpecting, innocent, and law abiding residents of New Mexico.
In the final analysis, our legislation will make our communities and work sites safer places in which we can enjoy the bountiful appreciation of our work and life experiences so cherished by all New Mexicans.