January 5, 2016

NM delegation responds to gun control executive order

The White House South facade. Wikicommons

Most of the New Mexico Congressional delegation issued statements on Tuesday afternoon regarding executive actions regarding guns announced by the White House this week.

A gun show in Houston, TX. Wikicommons.

A gun show in Houston, TX. Wikicommons.

After President Obama announced his executive orders to increase gun control on Monday, and held an emotional press conference on Tuesday, the Democrats in New Mexico Congressional delegation issued statements proclaiming their support. Still, some are calling on more action from Congress to increase regulations on guns.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said in a statement that he supports the President’s actions, but that it’s not enough.

“I have voted for commonsense legislation to prevent gun trafficking, expand background checks and improve access to quality mental health care,” Udall said. “Congress should enact these measures and reduce violent gun crimes while upholding the traditions of responsible gun owners in New Mexico and across the nation.”

Still, Udall added that he supports “the rights of law-abiding New Mexicans who want to use guns for hunting, self-protection or recreation.” He also said that he believes the Second Amendment can be protected while still preventing gun violence.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich also issued a statement in support of the White House’s actions, and said  that he also supports expanded background checks for firearm sales.

“We all share the President’s goal of reducing gun violence in America,” Heinrich said. “It is our responsibility as leaders to support public safety and put in place commonsense protections to ensure that firearms do not find their way into the hands of those that would turn them against our communities.”

Heinrich said the U.S. is “weary from violence, tragedy and grief,” and that Congress needs to take action on gun control.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham continued with support of the executive actions pointing to a reported 53 percent increase of murders in Albuquerque. She said she welcomed the proposal to increase background checks, but again put pressure on Congress to enact stricter gun laws.

“Ultimately, Congress must act to close dangerous loopholes. Until then, if the President’s executive action saves even one life, it is worth the effort,” Lujan Grisham said.

Lujan Grisham has been especially vocal on gun issues in recent months.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan continued the praise of the president’s actions by saying he supports a “common sense approach to address gun violence that includes expanded background checks to keep guns out of  criminals’ hands.”

Lujan, like his Democratic colleagues said the job is not done.

“Still, more must be done, and it is long past time for the Republican-led Congress to take simple steps to better protect the American people from gun violence; steps like keeping guns out of the hands of people on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist,” Lujan said.

“At a time when Americans do not feel safe in their homes and communities, the President is limiting our ability to protect ourselves,” U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce wrote on Facebook. “Instead of focusing on the root of the problem, the President is focusing on limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Pearce is the lone Republican in the New Mexico delegation.

President Obama’s orders included tighter requirements for background checks and reporting surrounding those background checks.

A statement from the White House said, “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.”

Update: Added Facebook comment from Rep. Steve Pearce.