State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Bernalillo) has introduced a bill in the New Mexico Senate seeking to make it a crime for a parent to teach their child how to shoot, or even how to properly handle, a firearm. The democrat introduced SB 224 on Monday under the guise of “gun safety.”
The bill states:
The proposed legislation requires that only children over the age of 12 that have successfully completed a firearm training course have any type of access to firearms. The bill describes a firearm as “any weapon that will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosion, or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.” This verbiage also criminalizes teaching a child how to clean and care for an unloaded firearm.
While the bill does not detail the specifics related to what the successful completion of a firearm training course entails, it does state that a parent could be charged with a misdemeanor and face fines up to $1,000 for a violation. The bill does not mention if there would be a fee associated with participating in the training course if the bill passes. It is, therefore, possible that it could target lower-income families disproportionately.
The New Mexico Shooting Sports Association (NMSSA) voiced its opposition to the Pinon Post, stating, “you would become a criminal for taking your child to go shooting if they had not previously taken some kind of formal class,” adding “The bill is an uneducated attempt to demonize firearms … It is already a crime to place a child in a situation that endangers their life, this law does nothing to add to a child’s safety.”
The bill’s “storage mandate” has received scrutiny as well, since the wording implies that a firearm owner could be liable for a firearm stolen from your home or vehicle by a “minor,” an “at-risk person,” or a “prohibited person.” An “at-risk person” is defined as a person who has made statements or exhibited behavior that indicates to a reasonable person there is a likelihood that the person is at risk of attempting suicide or causing physical harm to that person or others. A “prohibited person” is defined as “a person who comes within the prohibitions set forth in Subsection g of 18 U.S.C. Section 922 or who is prohibited by state law from possessing a firearm.”
The NMSSA spoke about the inability of agencies to enforce this bill stating, “The law is completely unenforceable unless they plan on going door-to-door inspecting firearm storage in your home. But this bill again goes beyond what they have attempted in the past. If a prohibited possessor gains access to your firearm you are liable as well.”