ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Reaction to President Obama’s executive action to tighten federal gun control rules in an effort to keep more guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill was swift and divided in New Mexico.
Among New Mexico’s congressional delegtation, all four Democrats were supportive, while lone Republican Steve Pearce was not. Full statements released Tuesday are below:
I welcome the President’s executive action on gun violence, including more robust background checks to prevent felons, domestic abusers and certain individuals who are mentally ill from buying a gun. Ultimately, Congress must act to close dangerous loopholes. Until then, if the President’s executive action saves even one life, it is worth the effort. – Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D – NM)
I support a common sense approach to address gun violence that includes expanded background checks to keep guns out of criminals’ hands, investments that increase access to mental health care, and the bolstering of enforcement to better protect communities. The President’s actions are an important step towards enhancing the safety of the American people while still respecting the rights of law abiding gun owners. Still, more must be done, and it is long past time for the Republican-led Congress to take simple steps to better protect the American people from gun violence; steps like keeping guns out of the hands of people on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist. – Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D – NM)
Time after time, the Obama Administration proves it is more worried about its legacy, than the Constitution and the will of the American people – today is no exception. At a time when Americans do not feel safe in their homes and communities, the President is limiting our ability to protect ourselves. Instead of focusing on the root of the problem, the President is focusing on limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens. These restrictions would have zero impact in preventing gun violence. The President should not use our nation’s tragedies as an excuse to strip law abiding citizens of their constitutional right to bear arms, but instead look to the factors causing these horrible actions and how to move beyond them as a nation. – Rep. Steve Pearce (R – NM)
We all share the President’s goal of reducing gun violence in America. It is our responsibility as leaders to support public safety and put in place commonsense protections to ensure that firearms do not find their way into the hands of those that would turn them against our communities. I’ll work to ensure that these reforms keep guns out of the hands of people legally prohibited from having them without punishing law-abiding gun owners. Our country is weary from violence, tragedy, and grief. After almost three years of continued gun violence and senseless mass shootings the American people deserve meaningful action from Congress. – Sen. Martin Heinrich (D – NM)
The president took modest steps today to address some of the more glaring problems, but it isn’t enough. The most important thing we can do to prevent gun violence is to keep guns out of the wrong hands, including criminals and those who are a danger to themselves or others because of mental illness. But in order to make real progress, Congress needs to act. I have voted for commonsense legislation to prevent gun trafficking, expand background checks and improve access to quality mental health care. Congress should enact these measures and reduce violent gun crimes while upholding the traditions of responsible gun owners in New Mexico and across the nation. – Sen. Tom Udall (D – NM)
Meanwhile in Albuquerque, Calibers chief operating officer Will Hogsett says the effects of key parts of the President’s action remain unclear, especially a provision expanding who needs to obtain a federal firearms license and run background checks on gun purchasers.
The new guidance released by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms says anyone who repeatedly buys and sells guns with the aim of making profit is required to run background checks, whether they do that online, at a gun show or otherwise. However, the guidance says there’s not a clear line for how many guns bought and sold is required to fall under the provision.
As a result, Hogsett says more and more collectors are using the store to run background checks.
“We’ve had positive feedback from some of the collectors we’ve talked to about well if they’re going to have to do it, might as well use a place that has the ability,” Hogsett said.
Three years ago there was a strong push by state lawmakers to try and expand background checks for purchasing a firearm to gun shows. That effort passed the state House but died in the state Senate as time expired. Followup efforts have failed to gain traction.