By Steve Terrell
The New Mexican
A House committee on Saturday advanced a bill that would expand required background checks to include most gun purchases in New Mexico.
After a hearing that lasted more than three hours, the Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3-1 along party lines in favor of House Bill 50, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos. The committee's action mirrored that of a Senate panel that last week approved an identical proposal, Senate Bill 48.
While the New Mexico Legislature is moving toward expanding mandatory background checks, Congress is heading in the other direction.
The U.S. House of Representatives last week voted 235-180 to scuttle an Obama-era rule requiring background checks for gun purchases by some Social Security recipients with mental disabilities. If this measure passes the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, Republican President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.
In presenting her state bill Saturday, Garcia Richard said her family owns guns. But, she said, "New Mexico has a problem, a problem that contributes to New Mexico being the deadliest state for domestic violence."