State Senate to Consider Background Checks for Gun Sales
SANTA FE, N.M. -- Gun safety advocates are calling for a show of force - so to speak - at a hearing Tuesday on a bill requiring background checks for firearm sales at gun shows and on the internet.
Only about 60 percent of sellers at gun shows are licensed dealers who require background checks. This bill would require all private sellers and buyers at gun shows to submit to background checks, and would order online sellers to conduct them as well.
Miranda Viscoli, co-president of the group New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, said private gun sales sites such as Armslist are a haven for illegal gun sales.
"You can put in Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Albuquerque, any big city in New Mexico, and you'll see what you can buy on ArmsList, no questions asked,” Viscoli said. "And so it's very important that we make sure that every single person in this state who is buying a gun goes through the background check system."
Opponents of the legislation have said the bill would infringe on Americans' Second Amendment rights. A similar bill failed in a Senate filibuster in 2013.
The hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence will hold an organizing meeting there an hour before the hearing at 12:30 p.m.
Viscoli said that criminals often take advantage of the so-called gun show loophole.
"Some of the worst crimes we've had in this country, a lot of them have come from gun shows, including the Columbine shooters, Timothy McVeigh, Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, Travis Morales, who's one of the most violent drug lords in the Mexican drug cartel,” Viscoli said; "all of them bought a gun at a gun show."
According to the group Everytown for Gun Safety, states that require background checks on all handgun sales have cut down by almost half the percentage of gun-trafficking cases, suicides by gun, women fatally shot by their partners and police shot and killed in the line of duty.