Friday, February 8, 2013

Great Guns! Committee Approves Gun Show Bill with Bi-Partisan Support

After struggling with House Bill 77 for several days, the House Judiciary Committee Friday night passed a gun-control bill aimed at requiring background checks for people purchasing firearms at gun shows.

Surprisingly the bill passed with bipartisan support on a 13-3 vote.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, praised committee members, including Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, who opposed the bill in its original form but helped craft compromise amendments for the bill that allowed it to make it through the committee.

Unlike the original version, the bill would not require background checks for people buying guns in private transactions outside of gun shows. The new version of the bill also 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 currently some 40 percent of all gun sales in the state do not require background checks.

Last week the committee stalled on the original version of the bill, leading many, including myself, to consider it dead.

It's not over yet for HB 77. It still has to go to the House Appropriations & Finance Committee before it gets to the House floor. And if it passes there, it still has to go through the Senate -- and then get signed by our pistol-packin' governor.