Bill to Keep Guns from Domestic Violence Offenders is Headed to Governor

Data Show Presence of Firearm Increases Likelihood of Death in Domestic Violence Incident

SB 328, a bill to keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders, is headed to the governor’s desk after it passed the House of Representatives late Thursday night by a vote of 38-31.

“When a gun is present in a situation of domestic violence, it is five times more likely that a woman will be killed,” Rep. Debbie Armstrong, one of the bill’s sponsors, said. “SB 328 is a common-sense way to reduce gun violence in New Mexico.”

The bill, also sponsored by Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Sen. Joseph Cervantes, makes it a crime for anyone under a protective order or anyone convicted of violence against a household member, criminal damage to property belonging to a household member or a first instance of stalking to possess, transport or buy a gun.

“Gun violence is devastating families,” Armstrong said, “and New Mexicans are saying enough is enough. We know that in states where people under restraining orders relinquish their guns, there is a 22-percent lower rate of intimate-partner death by firearm. It’s time we make New Mexico safer for families and children.”

The bill further provides that anyone restrained by an order of protection relinquish their guns and refrain from purchasing a gun. The bill provides for a process for law enforcement to take firearms from a person under a protection order, if they do not comply with the request for relinquishment. A process is also established for returning firearms to the owner after an order of protection is lifted.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has said that she supports this legislation and she is expected to sign it in to law.

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About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is a long-time health care advocate serving her second term in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

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