During a recent committee hearing in the New Mexico House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, legislators engaged in heated debates over two anti-gun bills focusing on snatching citizens’ and gun manufacturers/sellers’ rights.
House Bill 27, one of the bills in question, seeks to modify the state’s Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order by including any healthcare professionals among those who can request law enforcement to file a petition for the order — further infringing on New Mexicans’ rights.
In contrast, House Bill 114, also known as the Firearm Industry Accountability Act, proposes civil penalties for gun manufacturers for actions like false advertising and failing to secure firearms in their shops. This bill would allow the state Department of Justice, district attorneys, and private citizens to file civil actions against firearms dealers who violate the law, with civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.
The committee chair, Democrat Rep. Joanne J. Ferrary of Las Cruces, stifled debate on the bill. Ferrary’s attempt to call a vote was met with resistance from Republican Rep. John Block of Alamogordo, leading to a terse exchange where Block accused Ferrary of being “out of order,” to which she attempted to gavel him down. He responded by citing the rules she violated by stifling the debate, reiterating, “OK, but you’re out of order.”
Block and Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park), the lone Republicans on the committee, continued to challenge the bills during the hearings, particularly questioning the enforceability of HB 114, asking how one could prove a gun dealer “knowingly” lost a gun or had it stolen.
Both bills ultimately moved forward on a party-line vote, with the four Democrats supporting and the two Republicans opposing. These bills are part of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 21-measure public safety initiative, with eight specific gun safety initiatives she wants lawmakers to approve.
Despite these advancements, several gun-rights advocates argued against the bills, expressing valid arguments that the measures would infringe upon their right to own guns and leave law-abiding citizens vulnerable.
The debates and committee decisions on HB 27 and HB 114 indicate a deep divide on gun control measures, with Democrats ramming bills through despite Republican opposition and concerns over stifling debate. Both anti-gun bills now head to the House Judiciary Committee.