Restricting our rights will not solve the crime problem

The 7-day waiting period between the actual sale of a firearm and the transfer of that firearm to the buyer is now law here in New Mexico.  HB 129, sponsored by the very progressive Democrats, was bitterly opposed by myself and all of the Republican members of the New Mexico House as another assault on 2nd Amendment rights. This legislation mandates the waiting period for all firearm purchasers with just a few exceptions. 

The exceptions include federal firearm license holders, holders of valid concealed carry licenses, law enforcement agencies, and law officer-to-law officer transfers. What is interesting is that law enforcement officers including local police and sheriffs or deputies are still subject to the waiting period. This is absolutely nuts. Here we have individuals already entrusted to carry a sidearm openly, even into the gun store, but make them wait a week before they can take their new purchase home. This makes absolutely NO sense. 

All of the firearm legislation passed in the last few sessions of the legislature, including “Red Flag,” has done nothing to reduce the level of criminal activity or firearm violence in the state. In fact, we are actually moving in the other direction, as evidenced by the Governor’s recent emergency orders in Albuquerque. These orders were such an overreach that the Republicans in the legislature signed a letter advocating for an extraordinary session to discuss these policies. This call went absolutely nowhere as it needed significant support from the Democrat side of the aisle, which was not forthcoming.

New Mexico’s rate of firearm violence was relatively stable and closely matched the national average until just a few years ago. It was in 2014 that the rate of gun violence occurrences per 100,000 population broke into a sharp upward spike. It’s important to note that the upward spike continues to this day; it’s now almost twice the national average, and nothing that the legislature has done in the intervening years has impacted that trajectory.

So, what happened in 2014? That was the year that the Albuquerque police department signed a ‘consent decree’ with the Federal Justice Department as a consequence of the Federal investigation into the death of a homeless man during a confrontation with APD. One could make a strong case that this decree caused the demoralization of that police department and their activities to become more timid. Today, that department is hundreds of officers short with little effort going into broken window policing, a method of active enforcement that tries to address problems early so as to avoid the opportunity for escalation.

The bottom line here is that restricting sheriff department personnel or, for that matter, any law enforcement personnel from the immediate acquisition of a firearm will have absolutely NO impact on firearm violence in this state. These officers are NOT the problem but rather the solution. What we need is for these folks to get more support to arrest criminals and a justice system willing to keep them in jail. It’s long past time for the folks in Santa Fe to recognize that liberal public policy, not law enforcement officers, is the root cause of our problems.  We need safety and security, not banning our rights for our law-abiding citizens. 

State Rep. Larry Scott represents District 62 in Lea County, serving since 2015.

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3 thoughts on “Restricting our rights will not solve the crime problem”

  1. Thanks for fighting the good fight Larry. Applying logic to the gun control discussion is an exercise in futility. The real goal is civilian disarmament and any cockamamie scheme that furthers that goal will be embraced.

  2. Buy from a friend and ignore the waiting period. No way to enforce it. Also, make a deal at a gun show. Meet afterwards. There are now laws we all should disobey. Jury nullification should also become effective.

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