Governor outlines public safety legislative agenda

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her public safety legislative agenda during a press conference Friday, days before the beginning of this year’s legislative session. “This is the largest public safety package ever presented,” Lujan Grisham said. “We are committed to using every tool and evidence-based strategy to improve the climate, to deal with gun violence, […]

Governor outlines public safety legislative agenda

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her public safety legislative agenda during a press conference Friday, days before the beginning of this year’s legislative session.

“This is the largest public safety package ever presented,” Lujan Grisham said. “We are committed to using every tool and evidence-based strategy to improve the climate, to deal with gun violence, and to make sure that New Mexicans are clear that we believe in the constitutional right to safe homes and neighborhoods.”

Lujan Grisham’s agenda includes more than 20 prefiled bipartisan bills with a potential for more to be added later.

These bills include regulating assault weapons manufacturing, raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21, keeping those charged with violent crimes in pre-trial detention, mandating treatment in which judges would be able to commit people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others, making prohibition of firearms in parks and playgrounds state statute, banning panhandling and more.

Related: ACLU to legislature: Rehabilitation over incarceration in fixing crime crisis 

“I want you to know that we’re going to be smart, common sense criminal justice reforms are also going to be proposed, which means some penalty enhancements, lots of efforts and work at prevention and healthy lifestyles and really dealing with kids,” Lujan Grisham said.

Firearms and public safety

Both sides of the aisle agree that crime is a problem in New Mexico. Where they diverge is on firearms and the ease with which a person obtains a firearm.

One of the bills in the governor’s package adds a 14-day waiting period between when a federal background check is initiated and when the purchaser can take possession of their firearm.

“We know this will have a major impact on suicide rates in our country and our states, and certainly for those who are accessing weapons to do harm,” Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, said.

Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, prefiled the legislation.
Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca, R-Belen, said Republicans were “eager” to address crime in New Mexico, but attacked Lujan Grisham’s proposals.

Related: Heinrich introduces legislation aimed at curbing gun violence

“Today’s press conference took a hyper-partisan turn with the announcement of several anti-2nd Amendment measures targeting New Mexico gun owners who only want to protect themselves and their families,” Baca said in a statement released after the press conference. “Let’s enforce the laws we have, keep dangerous criminals behind bars, and give law enforcement the tools they need to do their jobs.”

Lujan Grisham said during the press conference that she does not believe the 2nd Amendment drafters intended for “weapons of war” to be easily accessible to everyone.

“You want to protect your family. You want to go hunting there are other weapons. You don’t need a semi automatic (weapon) transitioned into an automatic (weapon),” Lujan Grisham said.

Jan. 12 marked the final day for legislators to pre-file bills; they can begin filing bills during the legislative session when it begins . at noon on Jan. 16.

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