7-day waiting period to buy firearms in New Mexico to begin next week

7-day waiting period to buy firearms in New Mexico to begin next week

A mandatory seven-day waiting period to buy guns in New Mexico goes into effect in exactly a week, on May 15.

SANTA FE, N.M. – If you want to buy a gun in New Mexico there will be a mandatory seven-day waiting period that goes into effect next week. 

New Mexican Republicans tried to file a referendum to let voters decide if they wanted that week-long waiting period, but our Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said “No.”

Sen. Craig Brandt pushed for the referendum. He says the rejection is a direct hit on New Mexicans’ constitutional rights.

“We hear the Democrats all the time talking about democratic process and democracy and how Trump’s ruining democracy, or how the Republicans are ruining democracy. Well, and the fact of the matter is, in this situation, our Secretary of State is the one that’s keeping people from having a right to vote on this bill,” said Brandt. 

Secretary of State Communications Director Alex Curtas says it was rejected because, under New Mexico law, there are specific criteria for the referendum review process.

“There’s a specific exception within the law that says any law that is particularly about something to do with public peace, health, or safety is exempt from that process. So there are other laws that could go through this process. But a firearm-related law is pretty clearly about public safety and health, so it’s exempted from that process,” said Curtas. 

But Brandt disagrees and argues a waiting period isn’t about public safety.

“She’s just automatically rejected it saying it’s about public safety, peace, welfare. Nothing about this was public safety. There’s not a single shred of evidence, there’s not a single study that shows that a seven-day waiting period will make the community any safer, or has in any other state that it’s already being done. So, you know, she just kind of uses that as her catch-all,” Brandt said. 

Brandt says the next step would be to file a federal lawsuit. But, right now, there are no plans to take that type of action.

Another option would be reviewing New Mexico’s Constitution.

“If there is a change in the law that broadens the scope of what laws are allowed to be subject to the referendum petition process, you know, that would be the will of the Legislature and the people presumably. And so we would just, you know, follow that guidance and those steps if those were in place. But the Secretary of State at this point is just following the law as it’s written,” said Curtas. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 129 into law back in March. It goes into effect May 15. 

According to the governor, that’s double the current waiting period required by the federal government. The sale of a firearm without the waiting period or before those seven days are up would become an unlawful sale. 

New Mexico will join at least 12 other states when HB 129 goes into effect May 15.

The other measure Lujan Grisham signed in March bans guns from polling locations. Firearms wouldn’t be allowed within 100 feet of polling places and ballot drop boxes. There are exceptions for law enforcement and concealed carry permit holders.