Gun background check bill “back in the saddle”

From Capitol Report New Mexico -Five days after his bill aimed at establishing background checks at gun shows in New Mexico was deadlocked in its first committee hearing, Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, announced Saturday night (Feb. 2) that the bill will be brought back to the House Judiciary Committee on Monday (Feb. 4).
“HB 77, ‘Firearm Transfer Act,’ is back in the saddle again,” Garcia wrote in an e-mail he addressed to “Gun Violence Prevention Advocates, Friends, Neighbors, Social Justice Allies.” Last Monday (Jan. 28), Rep. Garcia’s bill stalled in an 8-8 vote after hours of passionate debate from citizens who showed up at the Roundhouse a crowd so large that the Judiciary Committee had to move its hearing to the floor of the House and generating a split between all the Republicans in the committee who voted against the bill and nearly every Democrat who supported it.
The lone Democratic holdout was Rep. Eliseo Alcon of Milan who said many Native American constituents in his district objected to possibly having to go through background checks if they wanted to hand down weapons of historic or antique value to family members.
But Garcia announced Saturday night he’s crafted a substitute bill that he says addresses that issue as well as dropping the previous bill’s requirement that the Department of Public Safety would conduct the background checks. Instead, the substitute bill would have Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs) handling the background checks at gun shows and also overseeing checks for individual private sales. “It is a better and sounder bill because of the changes,” Garcia said in his e-mail.
That will certainly be a matter of strenuous contention when the bill comes back Monday — although it appears the debate may not be as lengthy as last Monday’s 4 and-a-half-hour session. According to Garcia, House Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, “will briefly take testimony ONLY ON THE CHANGES to HB77, not on whether you are FOR or AGAINST background checks.” Read more

Lawmakers to take up Finance Authority changes

From -State lawmakers are expected to discuss possible changes at the New Mexico Finance Authority. The Senate Rules Committee in scheduled to take up the bill Monday. The proposal was introduced after our 4 On Your Side Team uncovered a fake audit that put the state's credit rating at risk. The measure aims to overhaul how members are chosen for the Finance Authority Board, which oversees the department. The proposal would require that board members meet some minimum qualifications. Read more