State committee endorses crime-related bills

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SANTA FE, N.M. — During the third day of hearings in the Roundhouse for the Courts, Corrections, and Justice Committee, it endorsed more than a dozen crime-related bills that could pass during the upcoming legislative session in January.

The issue of gun violence prevention is the main focus of one of those bills, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Day Hochman-Vigil, and supported by co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, Miranda Viscoli.

“Gun violence in New Mexico is an urgent public health crisis that cries out for comprehensive public health strategy,” said Viscoli. “What gun violence is doing to New Mexico is — it’s beyond tragic.”

The main goal of the proposed gun violence prevention bill is to create the Office of Gun Violence Prevention Intervention within the state Department of Health.

“We have no idea what spurs gun violence in one community versus another,” said Hochman-Vigil. “And we’re not going to be able to effectively stop this problem until we’re able to do this collaboratively throughout the state.”

The office would start with data and research on current gun violence in New Mexico. From there, it would be able to implement programs and policies across the state.

“This bill would allow us to compile information throughout the state, enable communication throughout various affected agencies, and give us answers as to why this problem continues to plague New Mexicans,” said Hochman-Vigil.

Wednesday’s endorsement is one step toward potential success of the bill, but it’s not a done deal yet. Its future won’t be solidified until it is introduced in the session in January.