March 16, 2017 — Today, the New Mexico State Legislature passed Senate Bill 259, which prohibits people subject to domestic violence protective orders from possessing firearms and establishes a process for domestic abusers to physically relinquish their firearms. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), and members of the newly launched “New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense,” issued the following statements applauding this development and calling on Governor Martinez to sign the bill:
“Like so many others around our country, New Mexico families know that guns and domestic violence are a deadly, tragic mix. New Mexico’s domestic violence survivors, advocates and public safety officials have long called for commonsense solutions to protect victims of domestic violence. And today, leaders in the New Mexico Legislature came together to advance a responsible bill that will protect vulnerable families by closing the loopholes that let domestic abusers possess guns,” said Congresswoman Giffords. “I want to thank Senator Joseph Cervantes for his leadership in sponsoring this important legislation. Today’s vote puts New Mexico one step closer to joining the growing list of states across the country who have taken responsible steps that makes it harder for domestic abusers to access guns. I hope that Governor Martinez will follow in the footsteps of so many other Republican and Democratic governors across the country, sign this responsible, bipartisan bill into law, and make it harder for dangerous people to get their hands on guns.”
“Today, leaders in Santa Fe voted to protect our families and neighbors by advancing a proposal that will close the dangerous loophole in New Mexico law that gives domestic abusers easy access to firearms,” said Kelly Famiglietta, President, Domestic Violence Resource Center, Inc., advisory committee member for the New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense. “This positive step forward will help keep guns out of dangerous hands and will save lives. We urge Governor Martinez to sign this life-saving bill.”
“As a law enforcement professional, I’ve seen how tragedy occurs when guns fall into the hands of dangerous people, like domestic abusers,” said Marco Serna, District Attorney, Office of the First Judicial District Attorney, advisory committee member for the New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense. “When law enforcement responds to a domestic violence call, they have no idea whether or not an abuser is armed with a firearm. This commonsense legislation would make it more difficult domestic abusers to possess guns, which will save lives and make it easier for law enforcement to do their job.”
OVERVIEW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & CURRENT NEW MEXICO LAW
In 2010, New Mexico had the seventh-highest rate of women being killed by men—the majority of which occur with a firearm. Children are killed by guns at a rate almost 60 percent higher than the national average. Of the 123 domestic violence homicides in New Mexico from 2003 to 2012, more than one-half of the victims—50.4 percent—were killed with guns. Firearms accounted for the murders of 143 women in New Mexico from 2002 to 2011.
New Mexico currently follows federal law and requires background checks for firearm purchases at federally licensed firearms dealers. However, New Mexico does NOT require background checks for purchases from unlicensed dealers, including at gun shows and online. In addition, out of state residents are permitted to buy firearms in New Mexico. Unlike federal law, existing New Mexico law does not prohibit individuals with a domestic violence protective order from possessing a firearm, nor does it outline a procedure for ensuring that firearms are physically surrendered.