What is Governor Susana Martinez thinking?
SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican who who has courted the pro-gun vote, said Monday that she supports a compromise bill that would require background checks on people who buy guns at gun shows.
Asked by a reporter about House Bill 77, which passed the House Judiciary Committee Friday on a bi-partisan vote, Martinez said, "I think I could support it if it stays the way it is." She said she likes the bill because it would help in "keeping the guns out of the hands who people who don't have any business having guns."
Said Martinez, "We want to make sure that guns aren't sold to a felon or someone who's mentally ill at a gun show."
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, will be debated by the full House on Wednesday, Feb. 13, said a news release from House Democrats. If it passes there, it still must go through the Senate before it reaches the governor's desk.
Martinez said a major reason she backs the bill in its current form is that it would establish a procedure to align the state's mental health and criminal conviction records with the federal instant background check system.
The law currently requires background checks for gun purchases from licensed dealers, whether at retail stores or gun shows. However, bill supporters say that a significant number of gun sales in the state do not require background checks.
When I supported Martinez in 2010, it was because of her agreement with issues I held dear. A value for life and the traditionally defined family, our freedoms and a determination to end corruption.
In 2010 we were still being governed by a very corrupt administration under Bill Richardson. After eight years in Santa Fe as governor, Richardson was leaving and planning to pass the reigns on to his Lieutenant Governor, Diane Denish. Eager for a chance at ending corruption and excited with the idea of the nation's first Hispanic female governor, New Mexicans selected Martinez from the five Republican choices, and again embraced Martinez in November sending her to Santa Fe.
A couple years before, Richardson had run for president, becoming the only presidential candidate to ever be endorsed in a primary by the National Rifle Association. Following the New Mexican tradition, Richardson supported the second amendment. Democratic legislators have carried out their constituents desires over that of their political party, and in the past we have had many conservative Democrats in the Roundhouse.
On the campaign trail Martinez would proudly tell the story of her first job, working for her father's security company. If that wasn't enough Martinez husband, Chuck Franco an under-Sheriff for Dona Ana County at the time, always functioned as her security guard which was evident by his well-armed presence at each events I attended. Martinez even warned CNN she was had a permit and was carrying. Martinez is a Republican and someone who values the second amendment in a state where many traditional Hispanic Democrats even respect this right...so why is she going against New Mexicans and playing lip service to this legislation which cripples our rights?
HB-77 would, in it's present state, require gun show registration and background checks on nearly all firearms. Our state does not need this.
Perhaps the NRA explained the legislation best:
The most recent version of HB 77, which the House Judiciary Committee ultimately approved, calls for organizers or promoters of gun shows in New Mexico to provide the services of an FFL to process background checks for private firearm transfers, which would now be required at these events (except if the transfer is to a New Mexico concealed handgun licensee). It provides immunity from liability to the transferor and the FFL for complying with this requirement. It requires mental health records that would disqualify someone from being able to purchase or possess firearms to be reported to the FBI for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and establishes a process for restoration of rights if the disqualifying condition is removed. Make no mistake, this legislation isn’t just about banning private sales at gun shows. This is the first step toward criminalizing ALL private firearm transfers, even between family and friends, in New Mexico.
There is absolutely no way to completely ensure that criminals will not get guns through legal channels until ALL guns are registered. And this can't be done without throwing away our Second Amendment. Even then law-breakers will still get guns because...they are law-breakers.
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HB-77 may be found and tracked on the New Mexico legislature site here. If you wish to contact members of the New Mexico legislature, you can look them up here. The best ways to influence elected officials is to visit their office or snail mail. Phone and email are helpful and always encouraged, but do not have as much potential, so if you live near Santa Fe and can make a quick visit, or can drop a quick hand-written note in the mail, it is the most powerful thing that can be done.
The message of New Mexicans should be unified. We value our second amendment rights! And to our elected officials, please remember who elected you before voting for this legislation or signing it into law. We can vote you out as quickly as we voted you in!
Cross-posted on my blog politicalfireball.wordpress.com