With a requirement for background checks at gun shows bogged down in a Senate committee and the end of the legislative session looming, gun control advocates are steamed.
“I am extremely frustrated. I’m angry. I’m disappointed,” said Debbie Kuidis, a retired Albuquerque Police Department deputy chief who has been lobbying for House Bill 77. “What are they doing?”
The legislation sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, would require private sellers at gun shows to have background checks done on prospective buyers before they make a sale.
Federal firearms licensees already are required to conduct background checks at gun shows, and Garcia says his bill closes a loophole so that all sales at gun shows would be covered. Background checks are intended to prevent those who can’t legally own guns — including felons and the mentally incompetent — from buying them.
“The bill does not affect Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Kuidis, a gun owner who lost two family members to gun violence in 2007 when they stopped to help someone who had been in a traffic accident.
Garcia’s bill, which has had the support of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, passed the House and one Senate committee and was sitting Wednesday on a clogged calendar in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Richard Martinez, D-Espanola, hadn’t scheduled it to be heard.
“I’m trying to see if I can fit it in somewhere,” Martinez told the Journal on Wednesday. “I haven’t forgotten it.”
With the 60-day session ending at noon Saturday supporters of the bill — which is opposed by the National Rifle Association — are making a last-ditch push to have it voted on by the Senate.
— This article appeared on page A6 of the Albuquerque Journal