Updated: September 21, 2020 10:19 PM
Created: September 21, 2020 10:14 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque City Council deliberated a number of bills during their Monday meeting, the majority of which dealt with restrictions on where people can and can’t carry firearms.
City Councilman Pat Davis (District 6) was behind a number of those bills. The first bill would have required people to properly store their firearms with locks or in cases whenever they were left unattended within the city, which includes inside homes and vehicles.
“This is simply a mechanism by which requiring that anyone who possesses a firearm in the city of Albuquerque walks away from it, simply secure it so it's not as accessible for someone else,” Councilman Davis said.
Davis’ legislation cites statistics that show guns stolen from vehicles were often involved in crimes.
Some councilors were on board, but others claimed the bill would penalize responsible gun owners.
"It seems strange that we would put requirements on law-abiding citizens and yet we have criminals who buy guns on the street, find guns, have guns, and they're normally, often times, committed a crime and have a record and yet we, the honest law-abiding citizens, would be in the same category if we would not comply with this legislation,” said Councilwoman Trudy Jones (District 8).
The bill ultimately failed 6-3.
Another bill that was discussed would have banned firearms on city properties like city hall, parks and community center.
The bill also failed by a 6-3 vote. Councilors who voted against it claimed it would be expensive and difficult to enforce and said they those locations wouldn’t be any safer.
"If we can’t make sure that people are coming in that are responsible, law-abiding citizens that are going to pay attention to this, how are we going to prevent people from coming in that are going not pay attention to the plaque on the wall that says 'per city ordinance, you can't walk in here and shoot everyone.' They are going to ignore that. They are probably going to hurt people, and we're going to have a very limited, if no way, to defend ourselves,” said Councilwoman Brook Bassan (District 4).
One bill that passed successfully included one aimed at crime. Councilors passed an ordinance making threats of mass violence a crime, which is similar to another law on the books that makes threats on school campuses a crime.
Councilors also approved a $10 million grant program that uses CARES Act funds to help businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
"We've had some hard times here, and our small businesses have been hit very hard. There are any number of them that have no place to look for any kind of assistance. This is what CARES money is meant for; we can potentially save hundreds, if not more jobs,” Councilwoman Jones said.
Councilors hope the grants will help businesses that haven’t received pandemic assistance yet.
The bill was amended Monday night to also allow businesses that already received financial help to still be eligible for the grants, but will cap the assistance to no more than $10,000.
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