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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

NM lawmakers move gun-control bills forward

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Thursday, February 1, 2024   

Gun control legislation is making headway in the 2024 New Mexico legislative session.

On Wednesday, the New Mexico Senate passed a bill to ban guns near polling places and drop boxes. Another bill already passed by a House legislative committee would raise the legal age to possess automatic firearms from 18 to 21.

Marshall Martinez, executive director of Equality New Mexico, said many in the LGBTQ community support a higher gun purchase age, but do not want it tied to more incarceration.

"We think that it's a good idea to say, 'No, you can wait until you're 21 to get a gun.' But we don't necessarily want a situation where a young person who ends up with access to a weapon is automatically put in jail," Martinez explained.

Republican lawmakers in the legislative minority have expressed opposition to the gun control measures, citing constitutionality among other concerns, while the governor said she supports them.

New Mexico's short 2024 legislative session is primarily focused on budget issues. To that end, Martinez emphasized he would like to see more money allocated in the state budget to address homelessness and build an infrastructure for mental and behavioral treatment. He noted LGBTQ individuals make up about 40% of the homeless population and need more support, not punishment.

"We know that homelessness and crime, or the appearance of crime, go hand in hand," Martinez observed. "And what we're looking for in this session is more initiatives to address those root causes like homelessness and poverty."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said taking into account all types of firearm injuries, including homicides, suicides and unintentional injuries, firearm injuries were the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020 and 2021. New Mexico lawmakers have previously passed a child-access prevention law.

Disclosure: Equality New Mexico contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, LGBTQIA Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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