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What to know about all the firearm bills filed for the 2020 New Mexico legislative session

Cristina Carreon
Alamogordo Daily News

Hundreds of people gathered at the New Mexico State Capitol to attend a Senate committee hearing which discussed "red flag" legislation pertaining to the seizure of firearms from certain persons.

There are currently three Senate bills and four House bills pertaining to firearms that were pre-filed in the New Mexico Legislature this year.

One of these bills falls into the "red flag" law category and is one of several similar laws that have received opposition from community and law enforcement groups in recent years.

What is a red flag law?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "red flag" laws are defined as laws that allow courts to prevent certain people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or others from having access to firearms.

Red flag laws have been passed in a number of states in the wake of mass shootings and massacres.

Red flag laws essentially empower court systems to restrict weapons use by certain individuals.

These laws have been implemented because of

  • domestic violence
  • substance abuse
  • mental illness

When a judge orders weapons restrictions under state statutes, such rulings can lead to new state laws.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed two red flag bills into law in the 2019 Legislative session. 

Firearm bills in the New Mexico Senate

Here are the three Senate bills pertaining to firearms that were pre-filed in the New Mexico Legislature this year.

1. SB 5 Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act

The law would allow judges to implement court orders legally prohibiting certain individuals from accessing firearms under certain circumstances.

Emergency Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act (ERFP) orders could be issued when law enforcement officers state the need for the order; when there is probable cause the respondent would pose an immediate danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm.

Law enforcement officers or household members would be able to seek an ERFP in the District Court jurisdiction where they reside. A search warrant would be executed to seize the firearms.

Being found in violation of an ERFP would be misdemeanor offense.

Emergency ERFPs would expire 15 days after being issued, after which a court hearing would be held to determine if a one-year ERFP should be issued. 

The law would take effect in July.

The bill passed through the Senate Committee's Committee on Tuesday afternoon and was sent to the Senate Public Affairs Committee ahead of being sent to the Senate floor for a possible vote.

More:Constitution Day panel at NMSU-A discusses proposed red flag laws

2. SB 172 Threat of School Shooting Or In Public

This bill creates the crime of making a threat of a school shooting or a threat of a shooting in a public place that is open to the public.

The bill proposes setting the penalty as a fourth degree felony.

The bill is currently in the Senate Committees Committee.

3. SB 197 Stayed Sentence for Some Youth Offenders

This bill would allow for a stayed adult criminal sentence upon adjudication to be imposed on a youthful offender.

This bill is currently in the Senate Committees Committee.

Firearm bills in the New Mexico House

Here are the four House bills pertaining to firearms that were pre-filed in the New Mexico Legislature this year.

1. HB 35 Enhanced Penalty for Firearm Used in Crime

This law would increase sentencing enhancements for use of a firearm in a non-capital felony.

A second or subsequent non-capital felony in which a firearm was used would also result in an increased basic sentence of imprisonment.

This bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

2. HB 113 Felon Definition and Firearm Possession

This bill would amend the definition of "felon" in New Mexico State law. The penalty for a felon found in possession of a firearm or destructive device would be a third degree felony.

The bill would go into effect in July.

This bill is currently in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee.

3. HB 114 Firearms & Controlled Substance Felony

This bill proposes creating the crime of unlawful carrying of a firearm while trafficking a controlled substance

The bill proposes a penalty for this crime; making the offender guilty of a third degree felony.

The bill would go into effect in July.

This bill is currently in the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee.

4. HB 269 Domestic Terrorism Changes

This bill clarifies and creates definitions relating to domestic terrorism. The bill also creates the crimes of terrorism, cyber-terrorism, possessing a terroristic weapon and making a terroristic threat. 

The bill sets the penalty as a third degree felony. 

This bill is currently in the House Rules & Order of Business Committee.

More:Otero County legislators, religious leaders meet for annual prayer breakfast

Cristina Carreon can be reached at ccarreon@alamogordonews.com, 575-437-7120 or on Twitter @Cris_carreon90.