In an effort at “bipartisanship,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham held a high-level news conference with top Democratic and Republican legislators to ask for enactment of a wide range of “solutions” to deal with the state’s violent crime. The governor’s efforts at “bipartisanship” are commendable but her approach is piecemeal at best.
Enactment of an “Omnibus Violent Crime And Gun Control Act” is needed to deal with the state’s violent crime. The act would address the two major areas of crime and punishment and gun control.
Crime and punishment
The comprehensive act would include the following measures:
• Make organized retail crime a specific offense punishable by felony charges when value of goods stolen exceeds certain threshold.
• Make possession of a handgun by someone who commits a crime an aggravated third-degree felony mandating a 6-year minimum sentence.
• Increasing firearm and lethal weapon enhancement penalties for brandishing a lethal weapon in the commission of a noncapital felony from three years to 10 years.
• Make it a third-degree felony for failure to secure a firearm mandating a three-year sentence. Gun owners would have to keep their firearms in a locked container and make them inaccessible to anyone but the owner or authorized users.
• Increase the penalty of shooting randomly into a crowded area a second-degree felony mandating a 9-year sentence.
• Allow firearm offenses used in a drug crime to be charged separately.
• Review additional bail bond reforms and statutorily empower judges with far more discretionary authority to hold and jail those pending trial who have prior violent crime reported incidents without shifting the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense.
The act would include the following gun control measures:
• Prohibit possession and sale of assault weapon-style weapons such as AR-15-style rifles and pistols with magazines of 10 rounds or more.
• Prohibit the sale of “ghost guns” parts.
• Prohibit possession of semi-automatic firearm converters.
• Limit all retail gun purchases of all types of guns per person to one gun per month.
• Institute mandatory extended waiting period to a full month for gun purchases.
• Prohibit the straw purchase of guns for someone who isn’t legally able to make the purchase themselves.
• Ban the sale in New Mexico of “bump-fire stocks” and other accessories.
• Allow crime victims to sue gun manufacturers for damages.
• Require the mandatory purchase of “liability insurance” with each gun sold.
• Implement in New Mexico mandatory handgun licensing, permitting, training, and registration requirements.
• Expand gun ownership age limitation to 19 for rifles and shotguns.
• Expand the prohibition of deadly weapons from a school campus to school zones.
• Cases of juveniles arrested in possession of a weapon are to be referred the district attorney for automatic prosecution as an adult for sentencing.
• Make it a third-degree felony if a person recklessly stores a firearm and a minor gains access to it to threaten or harms someone.
• Mandate public school systems and higher education institutions to “harden” their facilities with more security doors, security windows, security measures, including metal detectors at single entrances designated and alarm systems and security cameras tied directly to law enforcement 911 emergency operations centers.
The Omnibus Violent Crime and Gun Control Act must include funding for the criminal justice system. This would include funding district attorney offices, the public defender’s office, the courts and the Corrections Department.