Waiting period for gun sales advances at Roundhouse

State lawmakers debate gun control proposals 10 p.m.

The Senate is currently debating a proposed seven-day waiting period for gun sales across New Mexico.

SANTA FE, N.M. – Gun control has been a major theme during the legislative session. The governor made it a top priority at the beginning of the session. With less than a week to go, it seems at least one of her ideas will make it across the finish line.

The Senate spent nearly four hours debating a proposed 7-day waiting period for gun sales in New Mexico. Supporters say it’s meant to be a sort of cooling-off period to allow for federally required background checks to be completed, and it’s something several other states already do.

While the bill is often lumped together with other crime-related bills, the bill’s sponsor suggested it’s primarily aimed at reducing suicide rates — where New Mexico ranks fourth in the nation.

“This bill may not solve the problem of mass killings at all, but we do know that this, as statistics show, we will make an impact on suicide deaths,” said Sen. Joseph Cervantes.

The proposal was slightly amended before the Senate debate, after lawmakers already inserted exceptions for law enforcement, concealed carry permit holders, and immediate family members.

It was also lowered from the original 14-day proposal.

Regardless, Republican lawmakers put up a fight, attempting to carve out more exceptions for active military members and people who obtained court protection orders. They also argued the bill would only restrict constitutional rights.

“Not a single crime will be stopped by this bill,” said Sen. William Sharer. “And I don’t believe a single suicide will be stopped by this bill.”

The Senate eventually approved the proposal on a 23-18 vote, meaning a few Democrats voted with Republicans against the bill. House lawmakers will need to approve the changes before sending the bill off to the governor’s desk for a signature.