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Gun show sales targeted again in Legislature

Despite three years of unsuccessful efforts, proponents of tighter gun sale requirements in New Mexico are trying again to require background checks for sales at gun shows.

GARCIA: Has tried to get bill passed since 2013

GARCIA: Has tried to get bill passed since 2013

State Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, has pre-filed a gun show loophole bill in anticipation of the 30-day legislative session that starts Jan. 19.

Current state law does not require background checks for some gun sales at gun shows or in person-to-person sales elsewhere.

The bill would require checks only at gun shows on customers who have not obtained concealed carry permits, a process that requires a background check.

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“This is exclusive to gun shows. It doesn’t deal with individual-to-individual sales or uncle Johnny selling to nephew Tommy, neighbor Juan selling to neighbor Erasmo,” Garcia said Tuesday.

Licensed vendors at gun shows do perform background checks. This bill would force individual private vendors to also do checks or face a misdemeanor criminal charge, according to the bill. The bill would not affect sales of antique guns.

Since 2013, Garcia has tried to get the gun show loophole closed. A similar bill passed through the House and through Senate committees in 2013, but it died on the Senate floor in the last few minutes of the session, he said.

That bill originally had requested gun shows to keep a record of customer sales and to have the state Department of Public Safety run the background checks instead of the federal government, as is normal procedure.

Garcia said lawmakers refined the bill and those requirements were removed and language of protection for antique guns was added. The revised bill was submitted in 2014 and again in 2015, though neither bill gained traction.

He hopes this year, with the same bill as the last two years, is different.

“The level of gun violence has not subsided since we first introduced the legislation in 2013,” Garcia said, citing community sentiment about violent crime.

Federal and state statistics on gun-related violence are current only up to 2013.

Because the 2016 session is for 30 days, the governor will decide which bills and subjects are considered. The state budget will be the focus of the session.

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