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Assault Weapons Ban?

SANTA FE, N.M. — Santa Fe City Councilor Patti Bushee said Wednesday that she intends to introduce an ordinance that would ban assault weapons and magazines with “excessive” capacity for automatic and semiautomatic weapons in the city of Santa Fe.

A draft is still in the works – Bushee said she won’t put anything forward until January – but it’s likely to be modeled after gun control legislation that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has indicated she plans to sponsor in Congress.

Feinstein wants to limit the sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons, as well as the capacity of high-capacity magazines.

“I just think in this issue of gun control we really are going to have to embrace it at the local level and send the message up further and further to the state and Congress,” Bushee said.

Bushee said she’s researching how a city law might play out legally. She said whatever she introduces will fall within the parameters of state law.

“I need to get a review of state law to see where I am limited but I hope to put something forward,” Bushee said.

“I just know that something’s got to be done and I’ll do what I can at the local level,” she said.

City Attorney Geno Zamora told the Journal it’s a “complicated” issue and his office will work with the City Council “to appropriately address the ban of assault weapons in the city.”

Also, City Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger is working on a resolution that asks President Barack Obama to enact federal legislation to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Wurzburger’s measure also directs city staff to find a way to organize and share the Santa Fe community’s thoughts on gun control.

“I think all of us feel we have got to stop this. The question is what is the best way to make our voice, the collective voice, known? And I think the council should take a leadership role in that,” Wurzburger said.

Bushee said gun control was on her mind even before Friday’s tragic massacre at a Connecticut school in which a gunman used an assault rifle and other weapons to kill 20 children and six adults.

She said she wants Santa Fe to be “out in front” on gun control and believes the City Council will pass a related ordinance. She said she’d like to see the state of New Mexico do the same.

“It’s easier to get an assault weapon than register a car. It’s backwards. It’s crazy. We’ve got to make changes and if Congress doesn’t act, then we’re going to have to,” Bushee said.

On Monday, former City Councilor Steven Farber, a member of the city’s new Charter Review Commission, said he wants a ban on assault weapons and gun magazines that hold an excessive number of rounds included in the city charter.

Bushee said she and Farber, whom Bushee appointed to the Charter Commission, have discussed the issue.

Bushee said she’d also like to see more public funding and treatment for the mentally ill.