Cage says gun bills have no affect on crime

Mike Smith
Carlsbad Current-Argus
  • Cage calls House Bill's 8 and 87 "rah-rah" legislation.
  • Cage says criminals have access to other weapons besides guns.

Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage said two pieces of gun legislation passed by the New Mexico House of Representatives on Feb. 8 won’t stop criminals, and there are other aspects of crime lawmakers need to consider when trying to stop violence in the state.

House Bill 8, requiring background checks for firearms sales, passed 41-25. 

House Bill 87, which prohibits someone convicted of battery on a household member from having a firearm, passed 37-28.

Both bills are waiting for introduction to the New Mexico Senate, per the Legislature’s website.

Cage said more laws aren’t going to curtail criminal activity.

Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage voiced strong opposition to a pair of gun bills passed Friday by the New Mexico House.

“A lot of these bills are saying we’re going to save lives. Okay, that sounds great. That’s feel-good, that’s rah-rah. How’s it going to? That’s the question I have,” Cage said.

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“I have enormous amounts of documentation and enormous amounts of facts. These facts unequivocally show that all these gun laws, they do not have an effect on crime. They do not have an effect on violence.

“You can’t legislate criminals into not being criminals. That doesn’t work."

Cage said focusing on behavioral and mental health is one fix lawmakers should look at.

“We have evidence to show that this garbage legislation is not going to work,” he said.

“We need to look at getting people help when they are struggling mentally and with their behavioral health. That’s what we need to do here, that’s what we need to focus on before we start looking at a tool like a gun.”

Cage said lawmakers and law enforcement need to look at treatment options.

“They’re crying out for help. A mentally well-balanced human being does not go out and start killing other human beings. That doesn’t happen. It’s people that need help, that have some crisis going on in their life, and they need to have some kind of intervention,” he said.

Cage said if guns are taken away from criminals there are other means to commit crimes.

“They’re going to go pick up a bat or they’re going to take a knife or they’re going to bite somebody. There’s still going to be violence,” he said.

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“Okay, we’ve stopped them from shooting somebody. I’m more afraid of a knife or a sword than I am of a gun, because it’s easy to use.”

Cage said New Mexico’s jails are “defacto mental health institutions now and that’s not right.”

“People who need help are being victimized by hardcore criminals (while incarcerated) and what does that do to them? It turns them into hardcore criminals," he said. 

Read House Bill 8: 

Read House Bill 87: 

Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at, @ArgusMichae on Twitter.