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Headlines Misrepresent True Scope of Proposed Restrictions

The headline which appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican yesterday, “Lawmakers Vow to Close Gun Show Loophole” and the branding of gun control bills filed in advance of the 2017 Regular Session of the New Mexico Legislature are misleading and downright deceptive.  In fact, the words “gun show” are never even used in the proposed legislation.

Senate Bill 48, brought to Senators Richard Martinez (D) & Peter Wirth (D) by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s national gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, and the House companion, House Bill 50 by Stephanie Garcia Richard (D), go far beyond the proposed gun show restrictions the Legislature has previously debated.  SB 48 & HB 50 would criminalize nearly all private firearm sales between individuals, regardless of where those transactions take place, and require them to be conducted through a federal firearms licensed dealer with extensive government paperwork and a payment of an undetermined fee.  Limited exceptions are only made for sales to immediate family members, law enforcement and the military.

Additionally, the measures not only restrict gun sales (which, in most minds, would involve an exchange of currency or a permanent change of ownership), but also the transfer of firearms.  Because that term is specifically defined to mean “sell, furnish, give, lend, deliver or otherwise provide, with or without [monetary or other] consideration,” these bills would treat gifts, loans, exchanges and other temporary changes in possession of a firearm as the equivalent of a sale by a firearms dealer, unless the transfer falls within one of the narrow exceptions. 

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