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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, New Mexico Senate » Gun background check legislation runs out of time

Gun background check legislation runs out of time

While it appeared a bill that would close the gun show loophole had enough momentum to pass the Legislature this year, the legislature adjourned at noon on Saturday without it clearing the Senate.

The bill had multiple long hearings in the House and Senate and was changed drastically from the original version, which would have required background checks on all sales of guns. The bill was changed so it would only apply to sales at gun shows and it also included language that would codify the state sending information on mental health to the federal government.

In this way, it was designed to end the gun-show loophole.

The changes made it more palatable to Republicans and it passed the House with bipartisan support, even as the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun rights groups opposed it. In the Senate, however, it faced some road blocks.

Then the bill was hung up in the Senate Judiciary Committee, with supporters imploring chair Richard Martinez, D-Española, to schedule the bill for a hearing. It was finally heard on Thursday evening — passing the committee after no debate on a party-line vote.

The Senate worked on the legislation after passing an omnibus tax bill — but opponents of the legislation introduced a number of amendments and all but filibustered the bill. With just three minutes left in the session, Sanchez realized it wasn’t going to pass and said the bill would be back again.

Since next year is a 30-day session, only fiscal issues and bills that the governor puts on her call can be discussed. It is very unlikely that the governor would put a gun control measure on her call — even one that she has indicated she would be amenable to signing.

Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, called on Gov. Susana Martinez to place it on the call for next year’s session.

If Martinez does not, the bill is done until 2014, following the 2014 elections when the House could have a very different

Photo via kdcdsTM/Flickr

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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