March 16, 2017

Bill aimed to keep guns away from domestic abusers heads to governor


Open carry rally in Richmond, VA in 2010. Flickr cc

A bill that advocates say will keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers is headed to Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk.

The state House of Representatives voted 43-22 on Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 259, which would require people under domestic violence restraining orders to relinquish their firearms.

The Senate concurred with the House’s changes Thursday.

Groups such as New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence argued that the bill is a common-sense measure that will protect victims of domestic violence.

But several Republicans on the House floor countered that the bill was flawed and would clog up state courts.

Related: Senate OKs ban on openly carrying firearms in Capitol

The bill would only apply once a judge has issued a final order following a hearing. Not only would the measure require people under domestic violence restraining orders to turn over their guns. It also would prohibit them from buying new firearms while the order is in effect.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws. The measure is also in line with federal law and recommendations from the state’s Intimate Partner Violence Death Review Team, which reviews homicides involving domestic violence.

The Senate passed the bill earlier this month by a vote of 25-15.

Though it passed the House on the same day that the Republican governor vetoed six relatively uncontroversial bills without explanation, advocates were still hopeful Martinez might sign the measure.

“Because she does care a lot about law enforcement and domestic violence victims, I am hopeful,” said Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, referring to a couple of the issues on which Martinez campaigned.

Contact Andrew Oxford at 505-986-3093 or Follow him on Twitter @andrewboxford.

Correction: This story originally said the bill would head to Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk. Since the House amended the bill, it first had to head back to the Senate for concurrence.