October 8, 2015

New gun legislation push supported by NM Senators

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A gun show in Houston, TX. Wikicommons.

The U.S. Senate is taking another crack at legislation to curb gun violence, a week after a shooting at an Oregon community college that left nine dead.

A gun show in Houston, TX. Wikicommons.

A gun show in Houston, TX. Wikicommons.

Both U.S. Senators from New Mexico expressed support for the principles behind the legislation.

The Senate introduced the legislation on Thursday with a letter from sponsors Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Debbie Stabinow, D-Mich. The letter was sent to their Senate colleagues, including both Democratic Senators from New Mexico.

From NBC News:

The changes would “bolster the background check system by strengthening it and stopping those who try to evade it,” the letter said.

It also calls for “shutting down the illegal pipeline of guns,” specifically straw purchasing — where one person buys a firearm for someone not legally allowed to.

NM Senators support

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, an avid hunter, said in a statement on Thursday that background checks should be expanded.

“Keeping guns out of the hands of people legally prohibited from having them is a way to prevent violence without punishing law-abiding gun owners,” Heinrich said. “That’s what background checks do, and having been through the background check process myself on numerous occasions, I know it is not an unreasonable burden on responsible law-abiding gun owners.”

Heinrich co-sponsored the legislation after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (l), Sen. Tom Udall (r)

Sen. Martin Heinrich (l), Sen. Tom Udall (r)

“I support the rights of law-abiding New Mexicans who want to use guns for hunting, self-protection or recreation. And I believe we can respect their Second Amendment rights while tackling the tragic problem of gun violence,” Udall said. “I have voted for commonsense legislation to prevent gun trafficking and expand background checks.”

Among the principles that Udall said he approved of were prohibiting domestic abusers, stalkers and “other abusers” from owning guns. He also supported making “straw purchasing” a federal crime.

Udall said it was more than just the high-profile mass shootings.

“Every day, 30 Americans die from gun violence. Parents, siblings, friends and strangers mourn the victims and pray for an end to the violence,” Udall said. “It’s past time to do more than offer prayers. We need to improve mental health care.

Yesterday, New Mexico Political Report reported on U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham supporting efforts to curb gun violence. Legislation to expand background checks was one of the bills she was in support of.

Like Heinrich and Udall, Lujan Grisham is a Democrat.

“We need to ensure teachers and school administrators, first responders and others have the right training to recognize and treat people before they become violent,” Udall continued. “And I’m convinced that we also must take reasonable steps to strengthen existing laws and keep guns out of the hands of violent offenders and illegal traffickers.”

“We are now in a new Congress and I have to believe that after almost three years of continued gun violence and tragic mass shootings the American people will demand a different result,” Heinrich said. “New Mexicans can count on me to be on their side as we seek to find bipartisan, commonsense solutions to reduce gun violence in our communities, while still respecting our constitutional rights.”