Addressing Gun Laws in New Mexico: The Impact on Domestic Violence and Steps Toward Improved Safety for Women

The impact of gun laws on domestic violence in New Mexico is profound. While some measures have been put in place, such as universal background checks and amended domestic violence statutes, there’s still much more to be done. Strengthening laws, like simplifying protection order processes and enforcing age restrictions on certain firearms, can significantly reduce the risk of gun-related domestic violence. Additionally, advocating for increased funding for prevention programs, supporting community-based programs, and promoting responsible gun storage are crucial steps we can all take to make our state safer for everyone.

There has been good progress in the past, but we can do more to protect victims of domestic violence in our state and make it a safer place to live for all its residents.

NMCSW is proud to offer educational information to the public-- including the prevention of gun violence and domestic violence.

Most recently, New Mexico enacted a law that imposes a seven-day waiting period between the time a firearm is purchased and when the buyer can get possession. Additionally, New Mexico established a law that puts strict limitations on firearms in polling places. 

In the past New Mexico has implemented several measures to reduce the risk of gun violence that most often effects women and children.

UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECK:

Require gun dealers to submit buyer’s information to the FBI’s NICS system, preventing sales to those with felony convictions, domestic violence histories, mental health issues that have been addressed by a court, or subject to a court order of protection.

AMENDED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STATUTES: 

Allow judges to order perpetrators to surrender firearms to law enforcement.

This is a good start, but we can do more. At the Commission for the Status of Women we believe there’s room for further improvement in gun violence prevention laws.

Here are some additional laws we can support in the fight for gun safety and against Domestic Violence in New Mexico:
SIMPLIFICATION OF EXTREME RISK FIREARM PROTECTION ORDER (ERPFO) PROCESS:

Last year during the legislative session, HB 27 aimed to streamline the process for obtaining protection orders and enhance safety measures for officers intervening in mental health crises. This bill did not pass and we need to keep up the pressure to get it passed and signed into law. 

FIREARM INDUSTRY ACCOUNTABILITY ACT:

This act would regulate how firearm manufacturers and sellers’ market their products, requiring reasonable theft prevention measures. It allows civil lawsuits for damages, rather than criminal penalties.

AGE RESTRICTION ON AUTOMATIC AND SEMIAUTOMATIC FIREARMS:

We need a law prohibiting individuals under 21 from purchasing or possessing these types of firearms.

BAN ON LARGE-CAPACITY MAGAZINES & ASSAULT WEAPONS: 

This proposed legislation would prohibit the sale and manufacture of certain assault weapons, addressing a key priority for the Governor. However, it does not address existing assault weapons in the state. This could and should be addressed.

There are many ways we as New Mexicans can help in the struggle against gun violence and its effect on domestic violence. Here are some suggestions of what we all can do:

ACTION STEPS
  • Tell the Governor and your legislators that you support the new Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order bill, the Firearm Industry Accountability Bill, and the Age 21 for Firearm Purchases Bill. 
  • Support increased funding for gun violence prevention research. 
  • Support community-based gun violence prevention programs that engage with young people to create art from guns collected through “buy back” and encourage students to take the Student Non Violence Pledge. Click the button below to learn more. 
  • Support efforts to use “credible messengers,” community members with lived experience, to deliver violence reduction messages to youth. 
  • Support funding for public education campaigns to encourage safe gun storage. 
  • Support programs that provide free gun locks to households with teens and children. 
  • Attend a meeting of the Alliance for Gun Violence Solutions and share their message with your other organizations and your friends. To learn more, email gvsolutionsnm@gmail.com. 

By supporting comprehensive gun safety laws and initiatives, we can create a safer New Mexico for everyone. Together, we can advocate for change, empower our communities, and stand united against gun violence and domestic violence. Every voice counts, and together, we can make a difference. 

The Commission on the Status of Women thanks Sheila Lewis, a subject matter expert, for her time, guidance, and insight on this complex issue.