On Friday, the state Senate passed H.B. 9, an extreme piece of legislation that would force New Mexicans to lock up their firearms in “a gun safe or a device that prevents a firearm from being discharged or from being used to expel a projectile by the action of an explosion or a device other than a gun safe that locks a firearm and is designed to prevent children and unauthorized users from firing a firearm, which device may be installed on a firearm, be incorporated into the design of the firearm or prevent access to the firearm.”
If the gun owner does not lock up any and all firearms and their gun is somehow used in an offense by a minor causing “great bodily harm” or death, the parent of that child could be made a felon if the victim of the crime is killed or permanently disabled.
As noted by even some Democrats in the chamber during a July 2022 preview of the bill, it would be the first crime proposal to base a defendant’s sentence not on their own actions but that of someone else (a minor) who got ahold of a firearm.
The bill does not, however, include provisions protecting the gun owner if the firearm was stolen, nor does it account for the de-facto tax it burdens the owner with being forced to find a new locking device to place it at all times. The bill is also blatantly unconstitutional.
The Senate amended the bill to add an exception for children hunting, but it would still require locking up the gun at nearly all times. Other amendments were also made.
All Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Benny Shendo, Jr. (D-Jemez Pueblo), voted against the bill. The final tally for the bill was 24-16.
It now goes back to the House for concurrence since it was amended in the upper chamber. If it passes the House for concurrence, it will go to the governor’s desk for a signature. Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has already signaled she will sign it into law.