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City Councilors Introduce Package of Gun Safety Legislation for Albuquerque

Councilors Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, and Diane Gibson are sponsoring the legislation.

On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, Albuquerque City Councilors introduced a package of gun safety laws to make public meetings and places more secure, give police new tools to investigate threats of mass violence, and encourage responsible gun ownership.

Councilor Davis, who initially drafted the package of bills, is joined by other Councilors as co-sponsors on these pieces of legislation being introduced to the City Council tonight:

  1. O-19-82: A new ordinance requiring firearms owners to lock up and secure firearms left unattended. (Davis)
  2. O-19-83: A new ordinance prohibiting firearms in City meetings and in City facilities. (Davis, Gibson, Benton)
  3. O-19-84: An amendment to the existing school threats ordinance to prohibit threats of mass violence against any public or private place in Albuquerque. (Davis)

“Our collective concern around mass shootings and safety has changed a lot since the language was added to limit the ability of cities to pass gun laws.  But that prohibition was never intended to place a single gun owner’s desire to carry a gun before the collective rights of the rest of the community to feel safe and participate in the democratic process, nor was it intended to say that we cannot hold gun owners responsible for irresponsible storage of dangerous firearms,” says Councilor Davis.

“As leaders in Albuquerque we shouldn’t have to wait on Santa Fe or Washington to solve our gun violence problem.  These solutions have been tested in courts and they treat gun owners as reasonable partners in protecting public safety.”

Requiring the Securing of Firearms

“The numbers tell a horrifying story. Almost 1,000 guns were stolen from cars in one year in our city and shootings involving children often begin when they access a gun left unsecured by an adult,” says Councilor Davis. “We aren’t saying you cannot have a gun; but we are saying that if you choose to own a gun, your responsibility doesn’t end when you lay it down and walk away.”

Earlier this year, a Rio Rancho student obtained an unsecured gun from his parent’s home and shot at several students. 

These bills were filed ahead of tonight’s City Council Meeting and are expected to be assigned to Committees for hearings later this year.

Prohibiting Firearms in Public Meetings and Facilities

Councilor Gibson added “No one should be afraid to come in to city hall to get a permit or petition their City Councilor.  This law ensures that when emotions run high over a hearing or public debate, guns are not a part of that mix.”

Threats of Mass Violence Ordinance Updates

After discovering that a loophole in state law did not explicitly criminalize social media threats to initiate a school shooting, in 2016 the Council passed Councilor Davis’ law criminalizing that activity.  Albuquerque Police quickly reported that the law had been used numerous times to investigate and identify school shooting threats in Albuquerque.  The proposed amendment expands that bill to cover all threats of mass violence against any public or private entity in Albuquerque, giving police valuable tools to investigate threats no matter how they are received.

“State laws involving instances of mass violence were written in the age of telephone bomb threats, not chatrooms and assault rifles,” says Davis. “In an era where every second counts, this legislation gives Albuquerque Police the ability to investigate and intervene immediately and that makes us all safer in public places.”