On August 23, 2019, I asked Rep. Xochitl Torres Small about her gun stance while attending a “Coffee in Your Corner” in Deming, New Mexico. I asked her about her gun votes, and why she voted for a universal background check bill while passing on a bill that would extend a background check waiting period from three to ten days. The revealing conversation is below:
John Block: I was just wondering about your gun control stance. I saw that you supported one resolution, H.R. 8, and you didn’t support H.R. 
Xochitl Torres Small: The Charleston Loophole…
Block: And I was wondering why did you vote for Universal Background Checks versus just a waiting period on the other one.
Torres Small: So, extending the waiting period was going from three days, where if it can’t figure out what the problem is and then allowing the purchase to go through, to ten days. That’s more than one hunting season. The people who are impacted by that waiting period extension are more often in rural communities where the address discrepancies are going to be bigger or in Native communities. The other thing is, the language was unfortunately so poorly written that the ACLU and veterans groups came out against it because it wasn’t fully addressing mental health issues that are facing communities, so the reason why I voted for one and not for the other is because I’m a gun owner and so for every piece of gun legislation that comes to my desk, I’m looking at it as a gun owner, as someone who believes in our Second Amendment rights, so we have to make sure regulations that keep us all safe don’t impede our right as well.
Block: But don’t you believe that the universal background check, it kind of goes against that Second Amendment thing [you mentioned] because when you inherit a gun from a relative, it actually bans that — it makes you go through another background check?
Torres Small: It does not ban it. It requires background checks.
Staffer interrupts: [inaudible] We’re all out of time, sorry.
Torres Small: I’ll answer that question.
Block: I appreciate that.
Torres Small: Did you know that actually, a majority of gun owners support comprehensive background checks? So, that’s — that’s where we’re at.
The newly released audio reveals many startling facts. Torres Small revealed that she only voted against H.R. 1112, the “Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019” because the George Soros-funded ACLU told her not to due to the bill’s “poorly written” text and the only other reason she voted against the bill was regarding hunting, not all the other reasons why rural New Mexicans need guns, including self-protection.
However, Torres Small continues to support and voted for the highly restrictive “universal background checks,” which forces background checks in all private gun sales (including when family members inherit guns) and makes it a crime simply for one person to hand a firearm to another person. The ACLU does not take issue with universal background checks, however.
According to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action:
“Both bills would make it a crime, subject to certain exceptions, to simply hand a firearm to another person. Any time gun owners carry out this simple act, they would potentially be exposing themselves to criminal penalties. While the bills do create some exceptions, they are overly complicated and create many traps for unwary gun owners. Accidental violations of these complicated provisions are not excused under the proposed legislation.
This legislation is not about public safety. These bills attack law-abiding gun owners by placing further burdens on gun ownership and use. For the anti-gun groups and politicians intent on criminalizing the private transfer of firearms, this legislation is just another step in their effort to extinguish America’s vibrant and legitimate gun culture.”
As well, Torres Small’s claim that “a majority of gun owners support comprehensive background checks” is false. A New York Times report revealed that there was a sever divergence between policy and polling in 2018 called “Support for Gun Control Seems Strong. But It May Be Softer Than It Looks.” The author wrote, “While a wide range of gun control laws appear popular in polls, support may soften once details emerge and they’re subjected to a robust political debate.”
In Maine, for instance, a poll asking about support for “universal background checks” in the terms of what the actual bill would do (criminalize private firearm transfers), Mainers rejected the measure 52 to 48 percent. So, the claim that a vast majority of firearm owners support “comprehensive background checks,” as Torres Small would like us to believe, is flat-out false.
A recent campaign advertisement released by Torres Small shows her shooting three guns, in the attempt to try and show New Mexicans that she supports the Second Amendment. The ad features her husband, Nathan Small, and other gentleman watching her shoot. All three guns, a 12-gauge Weatherby shotgun, a .270 Winchester rifle, and .44 Magnum revolver were not featured in her first ad with another rifle. The publicity stunt by her campaign raises questions as to whether she personally owns all three weapons, which would be required if the bill she voted for, H.R. 8, was passed into law. If she does not own all three weapons, she would be subject to criminal charges, if the universal background check act she supports were current law. Is this just one more example of Torres Small saying one thing to get elected, and then doing another when in Washington, D.C.?
Torres Small voted with Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi 95% of the time and voted to impeach President Trump in December, a measure that has bipartisan opposition and massive opposition in New Mexico’s Second District, which she represents.