On Friday, the New Mexico House of Representatives narrowly approved unconstitutional anti-gun legislation that mandates a seven-day waiting period for all firearm sales in New Mexico, amid criticism from Republicans who view it as an unnecessary burden on responsible gun owners and ineffective in curbing criminal access to firearms. The passage of House Bill 129 by a vote of 37-33, with dissent from both some Democrats and Republicans, now sends the bill to the Senate for further deliberation.
State Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), the sponsor, claimed the bill would save lives. In contrast, Republican Representative Stefani Lord of Sandia Park, a staunch defender of gun rights, accused proponents of targeting law-abiding citizens instead of focusing on criminals.
The debate went on for three hours — the maximum allowed under the House rules. State Rep. Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque) employed a procedural tactic known as a “call of the House” to ensure all members were present for the vote, adding urgency to the proceedings.
Originally, the bill proposed a 14-day waiting period, but an amendment introduced by State Rep. Art De La Cruz (D-Albuquerque), reducing it to seven days, narrowly passed by a single vote with Rep. Anthony Allison (D-Fruitland), who voted against the bill on final passage, not voting on the amendment. The bill now includes a provision for a misdemeanor charge for any sale that contravenes the waiting period, with exceptions for transactions between immediate family members, but not for domestic violence situations or for military, veterans, or police officers.
The bill aims to address loopholes in federal legislation by ensuring adequate time for background checks, a measure supported by the bill’s proponents as a means to prevent impulsive acts of violence. Critics, however, argue that it could disadvantage individuals in immediate need of protection, especially in the most rural areas of the state.
The proposal is part of a broader legislative effort from anti-gun Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, with proposals such as the waiting period bill, failing repeatedly throughout her two terms as governor so far.