Background check bill advances in House

Background check bill advances in House

Gun Rights

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez speaks during a press conference last year. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal) SANTA FE — A proposal to require background checks on nearly ever gun sale in New Mexico narrowly passed its first test Thursday and is moving through the state House. It’s just one piece of a broader package of firearms legislation generating intense debate this session in the Roundhouse — where lawmakers are often skeptical of new restrictions on gun ownership. But the political landscape may be changing, as Democrats returned to the Capitol this year with increased strength, having expanded their majority in the state House and flipped control of the governor’s office. They also have a majority in the Senate. The debate began in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee on Thursday afternoon as lawmakers heard testimony from teenagers worried about their safety at school and sheriffs who warned the bill couldn’t be enforced. House Bill 8 passed 3-2 along party lines, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed. It must pass at least one more committee before reaching the House floor. “It’s not a perfect bill. It will not by itself solve the problem of gun violence,” said District Attorney Raúl Torrez, the top state prosecutor in Bernalillo County. But “I think it’s time for us to take a stand.” Sheriffs from across New Mexico — carrying cowboy hats and sidearms — turned out in force to blast the background-check proposal. They told lawmakers that it would be impossible […]

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