(The Center Square) - New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and House Minority Leader Ryan Lane, R-Aztec, are pushing for a tougher gun law in the state.
The governor and Lane are supporting House Bill 306. It is a bill that would prohibit so-called "straw purchases" of firearms; it would make this practice a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico, according to a press release from the governor's office.
The bill would make it a fourth-degree felony to knowingly buy a firearm for someone who cannot lawfully own a firearm or for someone who plans to give the firearm to someone who intends to commit a crime with it.
A fourth-degree felony typically carries up to an 18-month prison sentence and a $5,000 fine in New Mexico.
"We know that guns are far too often making their way into the wrong hands, including juveniles and convicted felons," Governor Lujan Grisham said in the release. "That's a pattern that must stop, and I'm grateful to Leader Lane for his willingness to partner on this important legislation."
Lane agreed with this sentiment and touted the bill's bipartisan support.
"We must do everything in our power to ensure that career criminals do not have access to firearms," Lane said in the release. "The crime epidemic deserves an all-hands-on-deck approach, and I am certain that there is plenty of common ground for bipartisan work to ensure New Mexicans feel safe in their own communities."
Additionally, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina supports the proposal.
"The straw purchase of guns is becoming more of a problem in Albuquerque, especially among young people who either want new guns, or they want to avoid buying stolen guns that could land them in more trouble," Medina said in the release. "We need to target this problem both at the local and federal levels. We need real consequences for anyone who is abusing our gun laws."
The governor's office says the bill would ban people from knowingly purchasing a firearm for someone who:
- Is a felon;
- Is prohibited from possessing a firearm by any law of the United States, New Mexico, or any other state;
- Intends to use, carry, possess, sell, or otherwise transfer possession of the firearm in furtherance of any felony or misdemeanor; or
- Intends to sell or transfer possession of the firearm to any other person prohibited by law.
A federal law preventing straw purchases already exists. However, the governor's office argues that "enshrining the prohibition in state law empowers the state to also enforce such prohibitions."