(The Center Square) - Should assault weapons be legal in New Mexico?
Banning them is a major second-term priority, Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in her 2023 State of the State address this week.
The governor said she wants to crack down on crime in her address. She said this will include hiring and training 1,000 law enforcement officers across the state. However, she also said that she wants to take further gun control measures in hopes of curbing gun crime.
"This fight also requires that we step up what we’re doing to address the sickening scourge of gun violence that has infected our nation,” Grisham said in her address. “Over 1,000 guns are stolen every year in Albuquerque alone. We all know that we cannot keep our people safe if weapons of war continue to flood our neighborhoods."
After mentioning that gun theft statistic, Grisham laid out her entire gun control agenda.
Here is what she said:
“That is why I am calling for a ban on assault weapons. I am calling for an end to the state loophole on straw purchases of guns because people with a history of violence should not be able to exploit the system to get a firearm. I am calling for safe storage reforms that impose penalties on anyone who fails to secure an unattended firearm and leaves it accessible to an unsupervised minor. And I am calling for legislation that would allow victims of gun violence to bring civil suits against firearm manufacturers. If we are bold and clear in our knowledge that now is the time to do the right thing, we can save lives and protect futures. I am determined to succeed, and I will not let up until New Mexico is the safest state in the nation.”
Grisham never explained what she wants to see classified as assault weapons.
The term assault weapon does not have a broadly agreed-upon definition. The Merriam-Webster dictionary website defines an assault weapon as, "any of various automatic or semiautomatic firearms."
On crime, Grisham also has two other priorities in this session.
Grisham said that she wants the state to establish a "rebuttable presumption" to "ensure that those accused of murder, gun crimes, rape or other sex crimes do not pose a danger to the community before being released pending trial," according to a press release from her office.
Additionally, the governor wants to go after retail theft.
She wants to do this by, "Targeting offenders who fund organized crime through retail theft by creating the crime of organized retail crime in state statute, amending statutory language on robbery and shoplifting to encompass aggregated crimes of theft, and better-enabling prosecution of commercial theft," her office said in the release.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office could not immediately be reached for comment late Thursday morning to specify what her preferred assault weapons ban would entail.