September 13, 2019

Toulouse Oliver releases gun safety plan

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Matthew Reichbach

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

A Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful released a gun plan Friday that includes support for an assault weapons ban and universal and expanded background checks.

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she also supports enacting red flag laws and raising the minimum age to purchase a rifle to 21. 

“This epidemic has claimed the lives of too many innocent Americans–far too many of them children–and it is well beyond time for Congress to act to protect Americans from the scourge of gun violence,” Toulouse Oliver said in her gun safety plan. “In the U.S. Senate, I will fight for common-sense gun-safety legislation as if my own children’s lives depended on it–because they do.”

Toulouse Oliver cites the rise in mass shootings, including the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left more than 30 people dead and dozens more injured, as reasons why to reimplement a ban on assault weapons—and to expand the definition of assault weapons to include AR-15-style guns.

When it comes to background checks, Toulouse Oliver says they should extend to all gun purchases—and that such background checks should include information on the online history of the person seeking a background check and extending background checks to close relatives and other members of the household.

Toulouse Oliver also calls for restoring funding for researching the effects of gun violence. 

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich has sought to repeal the Dickey Amendment, which bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from researching gun violence and its impact on public health.

The plan comes as the leading gun-rights organization, the National Rifle Association, is beset by turmoil while sun-safety organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have expanded their efforts.

With this backdrop, some Democrats have been emboldened in advocating for gun safety legislation. 

In New Mexico, new laws passed by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham included bills to expand background checks to nearly all gun purchases and required that those convicted domestic violence or under a protection order for domestic violence surrender their weapons.

Toulouse Oliver faces Ben Ray Luján in the Democratic primary. The two Democrats and two Republicans, former Trump administration official Gavin Clarkson and Albuquerque-based contractor Mick Rich, are running to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, who is retiring.