Heinrich introduces legislation aimed at curbing gun violence

U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Angus King introduced legislation aimed at curbing fatalities from mass shooting incidents while maintaining Second Amendment protections. The two announced the Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion (GOSAFE) Act during a press conference Thursday. “Far too many Americans and communities from Lewiston, Maine to Farmington, New Mexico, have lost loved ones in […]

Heinrich introduces legislation aimed at curbing gun violence

U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Angus King introduced legislation aimed at curbing fatalities from mass shooting incidents while maintaining Second Amendment protections.

The two announced the Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion (GOSAFE) Act during a press conference Thursday.

“Far too many Americans and communities from Lewiston, Maine to Farmington, New Mexico, have lost loved ones in mass shootings and we can’t bring back those we’ve lost,” Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico said. “But lawmakers can save lives through common sense gun safety measures. We can pass laws that regulate the inherently dangerous and unusually lethal firearms that mass shooters have wielded against our communities.”

The GOSAFE Act aims to regulate firearms based on the lethality of their internal mechanisms rather than on what the firearm looks like, to regulate the sale, transfer and manufacture of gas-operated semi-automatic firearms by making a list of prohibited firearms; preventing illegal modifications of legal firearms; mandating that future gas-operated designs are approved before manufacture and preventing illegal firearm self-assembly and manufacturing.

The Go SAFE Act draws a bright line between traditional firearms used for hunting, sporting for self defense and these weapons of war that we see too often in mass shootings,” Heinrich said. “We focused on the lethality of firearms internal mechanisms, as opposed to cosmetic features that individuals or even manufacturers can easily modify.”

Related: Guv gives update on post-executive order gun violence prevention efforts

ArmaLite 15 rifles, commonly called AR-15s, or other semi-automatic firearms, are commonly used in mass shootings.

The rifles are named for their original manufacturer ArmaLite which sold its rights to Colt’s Manufacturing Company in 1962.

“(These firearms are) dangerous because they use expanding gas to simultaneously fire one round and reload the next round into the chamber while staying on target,” Heinrich said.  

A semi-automatic firearm was used in the Lewiston, Maine shooting in October where 18 people were fatally shot and 13 were wounded in two locations: a bowling alley and a restaurant.

“In fact, the information that I have is that the shooter in Lewiston, Maine, had two large capacity magazines duct taped together, so that when one was depleted, he could simply flip them around and put the other magazine in place and keep shooting,” King, an Independent from Maine, said. “We had 18 deaths and a large number of wounded in a very short period of time, because of the mechanics of how that works. So that’s really what we’re focused on here.”

In May, an 18-year old gunman went on a shooting spree in Farmington killing three and injuring six. He used an AR-15 he bought the previous November.

Firearm buyback and Second Amendment protections

“Our bill also creates a voluntary buyback program to allow gun owners to turn over and receive compensation for non-transferable firearms and magazines,” Heinrich said. “This will ensure that lawful owners don’t lose the monetary value of firearms already in their possession.”

The reason for the buyback program was to prevent the firearm from ending up on the black market being sold to someone who may use it to conduct a mass shooting incident, Heinrich said.

The bill is not intended to confiscate people’s legally acquired and legally used firearms, the senators said. 

“Like a lot of Americans, and many of my constituents in New Mexico, I’m a gun owner,” Heinrich said. “Many of my best memories involved the responsible, law abiding use of firearms to fill my freezer and feed my friends and family. But I also firmly believe that our families and children should feel safe when they go to a bowling alley, when they enter the classroom, when they go to a place of worship. They shouldn’t have to live in fear that they might fall victim to the next mass shooting tragedy.”

The Second Amendment protections in the Act include protecting Americans’ right to bear arms based on a firearm’s established use for hunting, sport or self-defense, the act states.

The legislation aims to do this by including exemptions based on maximum ammunition capacity based on the firearm’s class, be it a rifle, shotgun or handgun, the act states.

The capacity has to be “permanently fixed” such that the firearm cannot allow a “detachable, high-capacity magazine” that would allow more rounds to be fired and make reloading easier, the Act states.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Both Republicans and Democrats skeptical of guv’s proposals for special session

Both Republicans and Democrats skeptical of guv’s proposals for special session

A representative from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office outlined on Thursday the bills the governor’s office will back during the upcoming special session, but…
Senators throw support to embattled Ivey-Soto

Senators throw support to embattled Ivey-Soto

By Justin Horwath, New Mexico In Dept Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto is running for a fourth term despite the state Democratic Party’s decision to censure…
AG announces legislative priorities for upcoming special session

AG announces legislative priorities for upcoming special session

Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced on Thursday his legislative priorities for July’s special legislative session, including the creation of a crime victim’s unit to…
LANL plans to release highly radioactive tritium to prevent explosions. Will it just release danger in the air?

LANL plans to release highly radioactive tritium to prevent explosions. Will it just release danger in the air?

By Alicia Inez Guzmán, Searchlight New Mexico Last fall, the international community rose up in defense of the Pacific Ocean. Seafood and salt purveyors,…
Program administrator outlines how waitlisted community solar projects will be selected

Program administrator outlines how waitlisted community solar projects will be selected

The program administrator for New Mexico’s community solar program released guidance Thursday for waitlisted projects. The new guidelines follow a petition from several developers…
Community organizations propose providing naturalized immigrants with public lands passes

Community organizations propose providing naturalized immigrants with public lands passes

A group of advocates are asking the federal government to give naturalized citizens a one-year pass to the national parks. President Joe Biden’s signing…
Stansbury outlines funding secured for early childhood and youth services programs

Stansbury outlines funding secured for early childhood and youth services programs

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury secured $8.3 million for childhood development and youth services in the 1st congressional district through federal community project funding. Stansbury,…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Heinrich questions FDA leadership on baby formula safety, mifepristone

Heinrich questions FDA leadership on baby formula safety, mifepristone

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf answered questions about the safety of human milk formula and mifepristone on Wednesday. Sen. Martin…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Abortion medication access remains after Supreme Court ruling

Abortion medication access remains after Supreme Court ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Texas-based Christian group trying to restrict access to abortion medication on Thursday. The case, FDA v. the…
How abortion care has changed since Dobbs 

How abortion care has changed since Dobbs 

In the month of March 2024 alone, 1,650 clinician-provided abortions took place in New Mexico, according to the reproductive research organization, the Guttmacher Institute.…
Many Democrats endorsed by reproductive rights group won primaries

Many Democrats endorsed by reproductive rights group won primaries

With nearly 53 percent of the precincts reporting as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, most of the legislative candidates endorsed by Planned Parenthood Votes New…
Abortion medication access remains after Supreme Court ruling

Abortion medication access remains after Supreme Court ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Texas-based Christian group trying to restrict access to abortion medication on Thursday. The case, FDA v. the…
How abortion care has changed since Dobbs 

How abortion care has changed since Dobbs 

In the month of March 2024 alone, 1,650 clinician-provided abortions took place in New Mexico, according to the reproductive research organization, the Guttmacher Institute.…
Senate Republicans block bill to ensure access to contraception

Senate Republicans block bill to ensure access to contraception

Senate Republicans blocked an effort to pass a bill to protect access to contraception this week. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján,…
Democrats announce spending on CD2 race

Democrats announce spending on CD2 race

The Democratic National Committee announced on Monday that it will spend $70,000 for organizing staff to aid U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, the Democrat trying…
Handful of legislators lose primaries

Handful of legislators lose primaries

Every legislative seat is up for grabs in 2024, which means all incumbents who sought reelection had to face the voters. Most did not…
Many Democrats endorsed by reproductive rights group won primaries

Many Democrats endorsed by reproductive rights group won primaries

With nearly 53 percent of the precincts reporting as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, most of the legislative candidates endorsed by Planned Parenthood Votes New…
Abortion medication access remains after Supreme Court ruling

Abortion medication access remains after Supreme Court ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Texas-based Christian group trying to restrict access to abortion medication on Thursday. The case, FDA v. the…
How abortion care has changed since Dobbs 

How abortion care has changed since Dobbs 

In the month of March 2024 alone, 1,650 clinician-provided abortions took place in New Mexico, according to the reproductive research organization, the Guttmacher Institute.…
LANL plans to release highly radioactive tritium to prevent explosions. Will it just release danger in the air?

LANL plans to release highly radioactive tritium to prevent explosions. Will it just release danger in the air?

By Alicia Inez Guzmán, Searchlight New Mexico Last fall, the international community rose up in defense of the Pacific Ocean. Seafood and salt purveyors,…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report