Lawmakers respond to Griego shooting

SANTA FE (KRQE) — "These types of tragedies need to stop," Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez said.

That was the statement from Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez (D - Belen) at a Monday morning press conference, but it could have come from just about any lawmaker.

This past weekend's quintuple homicide in Albuquerque's South Valley is especially personal to state lawmakers because many know the Griego family. One of the victims, Greg Griego, is the brother of Eric Griego, a state senator until he dropped out to run for Congress.

State senators observed a moment of silence on the senate floor to honor those killed.

Amidst condolences though, there's a heated political debate surrounding gun violence taking shape.

Democratic lawmakers say strong, comprehensive action is needed to prevent incidents like the Griego Family shooting.

"Everything is on the table," said House Speaker Ken Martinez (D - Grants). "Not only just the fact that we would be looking at gun ownership, gun issues and gun regulations but also gun safety issues."

The only specific proposal that's on the table at the moment is a House Bill that would require gun sellers who sell at gun shows or privately to get a background check on any buyer before selling the gun. The state

Department of Public Safety would retain records of any background check requests for five years.
That proposal and the possibility of stricter state gun laws is already stirring up Republican dissent.

"Just putting more laws on the books doesn't necessarily address solving the problem," said House Minority Leader Rep. Donald Bratton (R - Hobbs). "We want to make sure the constitutional rights and the rights of law abiding citizens are protected."

But there may be some common ground on the issue of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
Governor Susana Martinez has come out in support of a proposal to make it easier for the fact that someone is mentally ill to come up on a background check when that person tries to buy a firearm.

"In nearly all cases that you can find there's either a criminal component or a mental health component that should've been addressed that wasn't," Bratton said.

"We need to start taking mental illness seriously in this state," Sanchez said.

The idea of a statewide assault weapons ban is getting a lukewarm response. Speaker Martinez said he'd have to see the language of a bill before determining whether or not he could support it. Bratton said an assault weapons ban would likely be unconstitutional.

The Governor's office did not respond to a request for comment on that specific issue or the already-introduced background check bill.

Copyright 2014 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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New Mexico (change)

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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Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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