A bill that would require background checks for all gun purchases at gun shows passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-4 party-line vote. All Democrats supported the legislation while all Republicans voted against the measure.
The bill was one of the more contentious pieces of legislation in this year’s session — but is also one that Gov. Susana Martinez has indicated she will sign.
While it had hearings that were many hours long in House committees and a lengthy hearing in the Senate Public Affairs Committee (SPAC), the bill’s hearing took less than 45 minutes in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, introduced his bill and explained the different provisions, including changes that were made. Then the committee allowed five or six members of the public on each side of the issue to give public comment.
Then it was on to a quick comment from Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe.
“We all have constituents on each side of the issue,” Wirth said. He then thanked the members of the public for coming out and the committee voted on the measure.
After a motion for a “do-pass” by Wirth, a second by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, the bill was on its way to the full Senate chamber.
The bill would also provide for reporting those adjudicated as mentally incompetent to the FBI. This is the component added by Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, and is part of the compromise that allowed the bill to navigate and pass the House. The original bill also required background checks for all gun sales, but that was taken out except for gun show purchases.
The bill was amended in SPAC to establish a $25 fee for background checks. The bill also says there is no registry of background checks with this bill. The SPAC amendment also made changes regarding what would happen if federal gun laws change and how it would affect the law in New Mexico, if passed.
Since the bill was amended, if it passes the Senate, the House would need to vote for concurrence or the two chambers would need a conference committee to work out their differences. The more likely scenario is the House voting to concur with the changes that did not fundamentally change the law.
Photo via Flickr by kcdsTM