Lawmaker wants checks on private gun sales

SANTA FE (KRQE) — It's time to close the loopholes that allow private gun sales without background checks, according to a legislator with a bill ready to introduce.

If successful, Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, would close what gun-control advocates call the "gun show loophole."

"Our Wild West days are over," Garcia said at the capitol Friday. "Our Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley days are over. Our no-questions-asked days are over."

Garcia's bill calls for background checks at gun shows and on sales between private individuals. 

The bill spells out who can and who cannot purchase a gun, and it calls for background checks by the Department of Public Safety before the transfer of firearms and sales at gun shows.

"Why do we want to allow a criminal, a felon, an individual who has been declared mentally incompetent by a court to walk into a gun show, to sit at your kitchen table and exchange cash for a weapon?" Garcia said.

Garcia said he started drafting the bill over the summer, long before the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The tragedy is the latest mass shooting to put gun-control concerns in the national spotlight.

Garcia is hoping those concerns will help move his bill through the legislature.

"Our main concern right now is to put together a very sound piece of legislation that will really hold constitutional muster, and will hopefully buy in on the part of our nonpartisan legislators in both the House and Senate," Garcia said.

The bill calls for the creation of a DPS hotline open seven days a week to handle background checks from gun shows and private transactions. He did not have an estimate of how much that would cost.

Garcia plans to introduce the bill Jan. 16, the day after the legislative session begins.

Currently, only seven states require background checks for firearm sales at gun shows.

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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
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