SANTA FE — The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday rejected 3-2 a bill that would prohibit federal gun laws from being enforced in New Mexico.
Democratic opponents said the proposal was unconstitutional.
“I just cannot believe the legislation,” said Chairman Eliseo Alcon, D-Milan, before voting along with two other Democrats to table House Bill 114.
Supporters argued that the bill, similar to one introduced in other states, was constitutional.
“This is a very simple issue, and it’s an issue of states’ rights,” said Rep. Thomas Anderson, R-Albuquerque, one of two GOP members who voted against tabling.
Its sponsor, Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, said such a law could be used if the federal government, for example, infringed on Second Amendment rights by the registration or confiscation of guns.
“Then we would abide by our state law,” she said in an interview after the hearing.
But the bill’s opponents said the measure would make it a third-degree felony to try to enforce any gun-related federal law, and cited a host of legal and practical roadblocks to its implementation.
The Consumer and Public Affairs Committee vote came a day after the House Judiciary Committee shelved, at least temporarily, a proposal to tighten gun laws by requiring background checks for private transactions and at gun shows.
Gun-related legislation has become a hot-button issue because of high-profile shootings, including one recently in Bernalillo County’s South Valley that claimed the life of a couple and their three young children. Authorities say the couple’s teenage son was the shooter.
— This article appeared on page A4 of the Albuquerque Journal