On Tuesday in Santa Fe, the New Mexico Courts, Corrections, and Justice Committee met to discuss committee endorsements of legislation. Democratic members voted along party lines to endorse a series of what State Representative John Block (R-Alamogordo) decried via X as “extremist anti-gun bills.”
The proposed Democrat anti-gun legislation includes a 14-day waiting period for all gun purchases and a ban on carrying firearms, whether concealed or open, within 100 feet of a polling place. Notably, there are no carveouts for residences, vehicles, concealed carry permit holders, or businesses within the specified vicinity.
Several other firearm-related bills were brought to the table during the committee deliberations, sparking heated debate from Block against the measures. Among these proposals were measures to ban any firearm with a magazine capacity exceeding ten rounds.
State Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) said during the committee that she would bring a bill forward that mirrors a federal proposal introduced by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, dubbed the “GOSAFE Act.” Additionally, the age limit for all gun purchases would be raised to 21 under one of the bills.
Critics, including Rep. Block, voiced their concerns about the implications of these measures, which they argue infringe upon Second Amendment rights. Block accused the Democrats, particularly those on the far left, of mounting a relentless assault on “our inalienable rights.” The three Republican voting members present for the committee, Reps. Andrea Reeb of Clovis, Alan Martinez of Bernalillo, and Bill Rehm of Albuquerque opposed the anti-gun measures that were put for an endorsement vote.
One of the more contentious proposals targets firearms manufacturers, seeking to expose them to a wave of lawsuits and penalties. Block and others opposing the measure argue that this approach unfairly singles out an industry that plays a critical role in the economy while potentially crippling it with legal challenges. It also includes vague language targeting “[m]ultiple parties acting in concert to manufacture, advertise, distribute or offer for sale a firearm, destructive device, firearm part or firearm accessory, which would violate the laws of New Mexico or the United States,” without “in concert” defined nor carveouts for payment processors and others who would unknowingly be implicated by the legislation.
The committee session highlighted deep ideological divisions over gun control, with far-left Democrats supporting them while constitutional Republicans see them as direct threats to inalienable rights. In a passionate response, Block vowed to resist the proposed bills vehemently, promising to “fight them [Democrats] on this tooth and nail.”
As these bills move through the legislative process, it remains to be seen how the debate will unfold and whether compromises can be reached to address the concerns raised by opponents. The issue is likely to continue generating heated discussions as New Mexico navigates the complex intersection of individual rights and public safety.