Dear Editor:

A man was arrested in Bayard last week for being a felon in possession of a firearm and assaulting a household member. He was released the next day by a local judge under a $5,500 unsecured bond, which means, essentially, he was released on his own recognizance promising to appear for his scheduled court appearance or be liable to whoever provided the bond the $5,500. Unfortunately, there are plenty of scofflaws out there who have warrants issued for failure to appear.

It is contrary to New Mexico law for a felon to be in possession of a firearm unless 10 years have passed since his previous felony conviction. Also, if this is his first possession conviction, the penalty is less severe than if there are prior possession convictions.

Federal law is not so forgiving. For a first offense, a felon convicted of possession is subject to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

With all the conversation about gun violence in this country it should be incumbent on the court systems to use statutes already on the books to reduce said gun violence. Felons charged with possessing a firearm should have bail set high enough to keep them incarcerated until trial. New Mexico should follow the fed's statute and not give these felons convicted of possession any leniency. Let's give felons something to think about before they put that gun in their waistband.

Roger Lanse
Grant County

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