Open Letter To House Legislators: Oppose HB 50, HB 100 & HB 101

White Rock / Los Alamos
 Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club President

White Rock / Los Alamos
Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club Vice President

Los Alamos
Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club Treasurer

Santa Fe
Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club Board Member at Large

House Legislators:

There are three extremely problematic bills before you that I object to as a responsible, law-abiding gun owner. These are HB’s 50, 100, and 101.

HB 101 would ban “Assault Weapons”, which is a poorly defined term that would be used here to ban commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns used for self-defense, hunting, recreational, and competitive shooting in New Mexico – activities for which firearms ownership is protected under our state as well as Federal constitution and which tens of thousands or more New Mexicans participate.  Such a bill would be largely ineffective at reducing crime, as the well-respected RAND institute recently pointed out. Likewise, HB 50 would ban “large capacity magazines” which is a term wrongly applied to standard magazines that popular firearms are designed for and have been sold with for decades.  Further, HB 50 would create an arbitrary legal 9 round magazine limit which is not only incompatible with many semiautomatic rifles and handguns but which is not even addressed by those companies that make inserts to reduce magazine size to the more common 10 round limit in restrictive states such as New York (and note that severe magazine limits have been struck down in NY and CA). Furthermore, there is no buyback or grandfather clause in either of these bills. Finally, such a limit would be ineffective as there are already millions of magazines with greater than nine round capacities readily available and sold throughout the United States; indeed many states have no magazine limits, so such a ban would be ineffective to blocking the illicit market. 

In effect, HB 50 and HB 101 would turn countless law-abiding citizens who currently legally own these firearms and magazines into felons overnight while having a negligible effect on violent crime. A firearm is a tool used for hunting, competition and self-defense by millions of law-abiding citizens.  With particular emphasis as a self-defense tool, having the most effective tool that stacks the deck in the law-abiding citizens favor is critical while we wait for law-enforcement. We note that in some nearby communities, the response time for the most urgent 911 call is typically well over ten minutes.

HB 100 would impose a two-week waiting period on all firearms purchases after a federal background check, an alarming requirement considering that ALL gun buyers must pass a federal background check in New Mexico under legislation passed in 2019.  This bill could delay a person’s ability to exercise self-defense, and was ineffective in the latest shootings in California, which employs a 14-day waiting period. Further, it will, like the other bills mentioned here, be ineffective at reducing crime because the vast majority of crime perpetrated with a gun in New Mexico is carried out by those who cannot pass and therefore circumvent a background check (e.g., youth, criminals, those under restraining orders) or do not care about following any law much less the laws proposed here.  These bills will only burden the law abiding, because the criminals don’t follow the law.

Although the authors of this letter are Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club Board Members we are not officially speaking for the board or club.  We do encourage each member of the Sportsmen’s Club to write their representatives with their opinions of these bills.