The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that sets penalties for those who fail to adhere to a 14-calendar-day waiting period to purchase a firearm with a party-line vote.
The committee approved HB 129 on a 6-to-4 vote Monday afternoon, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.
The bill was updated to state that the waiting period is 14 calendar days instead of business days.
The bill’s opposition had four main issues with the bill.
Many representatives as well as public commenters criticized the waiting period as “not a cooling off period.”
“I guess I’m trying to see how that correlates with what you think it will do for somebody who wants to commit a shooting, for example, as you all know, I prosecuted the library shooter and he got the guns from his parents saying that were locked up and he knew the combination and he went and just do, so you know, not really see how that would have prevented that situation from a mass shooting that occurred, you know, in New Mexico, so I’m trying to see why leaving the cooling off period would affect that,” Rep. Andrea Reeb, R-Clovis, said.
The bill’s presenters had data showing that some of the most recent mass shootings were with new firearms purchased within 14 days of the event including a shooting in Farmington in which the shooter bought one of the guns used on the shooting shortly after his 18th birthday in October 2022 along with guns legally owned by a relative before the shooting last May.
Three other issues detractors had was some of them said the bill “discriminates against rural communities” due to gun purchases having to drive long distances to get the gun purchasing process started; they claim the waiting period endangers domestic violence survivors who might want a firearm to protect themselves from their abuser and claimed the bill contained some Second Amendment constitutional issues.
Analysis from the New Mexico Department of Justice, as the Attorney General’s office is now branded, in the bill’s fiscal impact report suggests that legislation imposing a mandatory waiting period on firearm possession following a federal instant background check raises constitutionality issues.
The bill next goes to the House floor.