Opponents of a gun control bill that would expand a controversial new law in New Mexico argue the measure would give police too much power — enough to seize their firearms even if they have committed no crime.
About 15 people testified Thursday against House Bill 193, which would amend New Mexico’s Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act by adding law enforcement officers to the list of people who could seek a court order to temporarily take firearms from a person considered a threat. Under current law, police officers can only seek a court order if it is requested by a family member, a school official, an employer or someone who has had a “continuing personal relationship” with a person considered a threat to themselves or others. The new legislation would allow an officer to seek a court order based on his or her own observations. The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee allowed public testimony on the proposal but postponed a vote on whether to endorse it until the panel’s next hearing, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Few issues stir emotions as much as gun control.
What will remain of the Affordable Care Act in a year or two? Maybe very little, some New Mexico lawmakers worry. While Democrats in the state House of Representatives have talked a lot about expanding access to Medicaid, many are also trying to hold the line on the landmark and controversial health care law also known as Obamacare, bracing for big changes as 18 attorneys general challenge its constitutionality in federal court. House Democrats are sponsoring legislation that would write several provisions of the Affordable Care Act into New Mexico law with hopes that no matter what happens at the federal level, the state can keep in place some of the standards for covering mental health care, for example, and protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. “We’re in that group,” said state Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, a breast cancer survivor whose son has autism.
Gov. Susana Martinez took out her major target in Tuesday’s election, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. But that single victory came at a cost. Republicans lost the state House after two years in control, while Democrats strengthened their margin in the state Senate. The Democrats will control the House by at least a 37-33 margin, with an outside shot at a 39-31 split. Two races are going to recounts.
The City of Albuquerque is using the state Inspection of Public Records Act to only its own end, according to closing arguments in the trial of a lawsuit alleging the city violated the law. Ahmad Assed, the attorney for Munah Green, contends in written arguments submitted this week that under the city’s interpretation, “IPRA becomes meaningless and subject to the pleasure and whim of governmental power.”
“Instead of IPRA being a public check and balance, or a statutory tool by which the public can extract the greatest possible information about governmental actions, IPRA can be thwarted, eviscerated and otherwise rendered meaningless by two words: ‘on-going investigation,’” Assed writes. Green is the mother of Jaquise Lewis, the 17-year-old who died from gunshots in the March shooting at Los Altos Skate Park. The shooting left six others wounded, including one who was paralyzed. Albuquerque police have said that Lewis had a gun, fired at people that night and was killed in self defense.
A lawsuit seeking records related to a March 22 shooting in Albuquerque that left one dead and several others injured won’t be resolved for at least another week and a half. However, the day-long trial Friday shed light on the city’s approach to investigating and disclosing to the public what happened that night. Attorneys for both sides now have 10 days to submit their closing arguments in writing. Then District Judge Victor Lopez will make a ruling. The shooting, which left 17-year-old Jaquise Lewis dead and six others wounded, occurred at Los Altos Skate Park.