Paul Moya, age 30, is one of eight (8) candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for New Mexico’s First Congressional District to replace Mitchelle Lujan Grisham who is running for New Mexico Governor.
Mr. Moya is a graduate of Los Lunas High School, went on to get his undergraduate degree at Notre Dame in Business Finance and his graduate degree in Education from Harvard and he is fluent in Spanish.
Paul Moya is a successful small-business owner as CEO of Millennial Labs, a full-service consulting firm that has impacted leaders from organizations ranging from Acura to the United States Department of Defense.
If elected, Mr. Moya would become the youngest member of congress and be the youngest hispanic in history to cast a vote in congress.
Thus far, I have not heard much of any discussion of this country’s ongoing gun control debate amongst the Democrat candidates for Congress, until now.
On April 4, 2018, the Albuquerque Journal published the following guest editorial authored by Paul Moya under the headline “In ongoing gun debate, it’s no longer acceptable to hide behind partisan lines”:
“I was incredibly inspired by the “March for Our Lives” [demonstrations that occurred on March 24], and I was proud to support the students who marched here in Albuquerque. While this event and debates around gun violence have been politically charged since the terrible massacre in Parkland, (that) Saturday’s marches were a sharp reminder that an entire generation has grown up practicing active shooter drills, fearful of when tragedy might strike their own school. These students are afraid – yet empowered – and it is past time we create comprehensive strategies to keep our schools safe.
What can we do to prevent gun violence and tragedy from impacting future lives? One answer is to actually listen to the students and focus on what they’re saying will make them feel more secure. As Albuquerque march organizers so eloquently declared: “Safety to us looks like prevention, intervention, and support services.” So, let’s start there.
When reviewing plans put forth by elected officials and candidates, I find they are often limited in scope and do not adequately address those three critical elements – prevention, intervention and support services. Physical security, such as metal detectors or armed resource officers, may make schools look more secure, but they don’t address what happens before an armed gunman arrives. Gun legislation, including universal background checks and bans on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks may restrict access and limit potential carnage, but it, too, fails to deal with what’s happening with the individual.
That’s why, as important as physical security measures and gun legislation might be, we must also shift the culture of our schools to prevent students from reaching a psychological or emotional point where they view gun violence as an answer in the first place. This is fundamental to keeping our students safe.
Schools must be appropriately funded to promote environments free of bullying, harassment, discrimination and assault. We must expand mental health services and ensure there is adequate staffing in schools to provide care for those who need it most. Likewise, we must reform school discipline to avoid ostracizing troubled students through exclusionary practices. Instead, we want them to remain engaged in the school and their community through positive emotional, behavioral and academic success plans.
Next, we need to strengthen bonds (among) law enforcement, mental health care professionals and school leaders, allowing them to better work together to identify threats and intervene when necessary. More practically, this means reforming legal barriers that prevent information sharing when a threat is made. And we need time-limited restraining orders allowing local law enforcement to intervene and remove firearms from an individual who has threatened violence against themselves or their community.
Finally, we must conduct scientific research to confront this public health crisis. To that end, Congress must repeal the Dickey Amendment and allow gun violence research at the CDC. (The recently enacted) spending bill included language to allow for research to be conducted – a positive development – but it lacked federal funding to actually do it. We can find evidence-based ways to reduce gun violence that respect Second Amendment rights, but we cannot do it without congressional resources.
This is a complex problem, and the fix will not be quick or easy. The good news is most Americans are listening: With 97 percent voicing public support of universal background checks and 67 percent supporting an assault weapon ban, the voices of our students are getting through. Now will our elected officials listen up or let them down again?”
Since 1995, the United States has had 95 mass shootings, including seven of the 11 deadliest.
Three of the 11 biggest mass shootings in American history have now taken place in the United States in the last five months.
There is no doubt we have a deadly mass shooting epidemic on our hands.
The mass shooting with guns in the last 10 years include: Orlando, Florida (49 killed, 50 injured), Blacksburg, Va. (32 killed), San Ysidro, Cal (21 killed), San Bernardino, (14 killed), Edmond Oklahoma (14 killed), Fort Hood (13 killed), Binghamton, NY (13 killed) Washington, DC (12 killed), Aurora, Colorado (12 killed), Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn (21 children and 6 adult staff members killed) and the largest mass shooting in this country’s history that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada with at least 59 dead and at least 515 wounded.
And now the country can add the Parkland/Stoneridge High School shooting that resulted in 17 children’s deaths.
After so many mass killings, it is difficult to refute that something needs to be done about semi-automatic and automatic guns such as the AR-15, or the type used in all the mass shootings and that are the weapons of choice for mass murderers.
The difference with the Parkland shooting and all the other mass shootings is that it has finally ignited a national discussion on gun control with the March for Our Life’s movement, and it was the children of our county that have said enough is enough.
And the National Rifle Association (NRA) no doubt realizes that a sleeping giant has now been awaken and that two generations of voters are now “pissed”.
The millions of people who marched on March 24 in Washington, DC and in cities all over the country is a reflection just how upset voters are and was a clear message to congress the time has come to tell the NRA and the politicians they have in their pockets to pound sand.
The Pew institute has reported that millennials cast 34 million votes in 2016 election, nearly double the number they cast in 2008.
“As of November 2016, an estimated 62 million Millennials (adults ages 20 to 35 in 2016) were voting-age U.S. citizens, surpassing the 57 million Generation X members (ages 36 to 51) in the nation’s electorate and moving closer in number to the 70 million Baby Boomers (ages 52 to 70), according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Millennials comprised 27% of the voting-eligible population in 2016, while Boomers made up 31%.”
Over 4 million new voters will become 18 and old enough and eligible to vote in the 2018 election.
Combined, millennials and Generation Xers cast a slight majority of total votes cast in 2016, more than the Baby Boomers and older voters for the first time in decades.
OTHER PROPOSALS TO CONSIDER LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY
There are many legislative proposals, albeit too controversial for many running for office and who hold office to stomach, that could be considered on a state level and on the federal level that could be proposed or enacted by our federal and state officials and those running for office.
In New Mexico, our legislature could consider:
1. Repeal the New Mexico Constitutional provision that allows the “open carry” of firearms. This would require a public vote and no doubt generate heated discussion given New Mexico’s high percentage of gun ownership for hunting, sport or hobby.
2. Prohibit in New Mexico the sale of “ghost guns” parts. Ghost guns are guns that are manufactured and sold in parts without any serial numbers to be assembled by the purchaser and that can be sold to anyone.
3. Requiring in New Mexico the mandatory purchase of “liability insurance” with each gun sold as is required for all operable vehicles bought and driven in New Mexico.
4. Enact a gun violence restraining order and extreme risk protection process to temporarily prohibit an individual deemed by a judge to pose a danger to self or others, from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law local law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession.
5. Restrict and penalize firearm possession by or transfer to a person subject to a domestic violence protection order or a person, including dating partners, convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.
6. Mandate the school systems and higher education institutions “harden” their facilities with more security doors, security windows, and security measures and alarm systems and security cameras tied directly to law enforcement 911 emergency operations centers.
On a federal level, congress could consider:
1. Implementation of background checks on the sale of all guns.
2. Close the “Charleston loophole” or “delayed denial” where federally licensed dealers can sell guns if three business days pass without FBI clearance.
3. Call for the update and enhancement of the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NCIS).
4. Institute mandatory extended waiting periods for all gun purchases.
5. Implement mandatory handgun licensing, permitting, training, and registration requirements.
6. Ban “bump-fire stocks” as was used in the Las Vegas mass shooting and other dangerous accessories.
7. Ban future manufacture and sale of all assault weapons and regulate existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act of 1934, and initiate a federal gun buyback program.
8. Impose limits on high capacity magazines.
9. Prohibit firearm sale or transfer to and receipt or possession by an individual who has: (1) been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor hate crime, or (2) received from any court an enhanced hate crime misdemeanor sentence.
10. Institute mandatory child access prevention safe storage requirements and prohibit the sales of handguns with “hair triggers”.
11. Provide more resources and treatment for people with mental illness.
12. Enhance accountability of federally licensed firearms dealers.
13. Implement micro stamped code on each bullet that links it to a specific gun.
14. Produce ‘x-mart guns’ with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or biometric recognition (fingerprint) capability.
15. Limit gun purchases to one gun per month to reduce trafficking and straw purchases.
16. Prohibit open carry of firearms.
17. Digitize Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire (ATF) gun records.
18. Require licensing for ammunition dealer.
Now that we are in an election year, New Mexico voters need to demand the positions from our candidates for Governor and for the New Mexico legislature where they stand on gun control.
Just as important, voters need to ask those running for congress where they stand on gun control and say what they think needs to be done to do to stop the mass shootings.
Congressional candidate Paul Moya has articulated a clear path forward when he talks of prevention, intervention, and support services reflecting someone who should be seriously considered to be sent to congress.