On February 6, the online news outlet New Mexico Sun published a 750 word Pete Dinelli guest opinion column entitled “Enact Omnibus Violent Crime and Gun Control Act”. It is a longer version of a 550word guest column published by the Albuquerque Journal on January 31.
Headline: Enact Omnibus Violent Crime and Gun Control Act
By Pete Dinelli
“In an effort at “bipartisanship”, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham held a high-level news conference with top Democratic and Republican legislators to ask for enactment of a wide range of “solutions” to deal with the state’s violent crime. The Governors efforts at “bipartisanship” is commendable but her approach is piecemeal at best. It does not even come close to what is actually needed to have an impact on preventing gun violence.
A far more comprehensive approach is what is needed. Enactment of an “Omnibus Violent Crime and Gun Control Act” is needed to deal with the state’s violent crime.
What is needed is a balance between crime and punishment and gun control. The message must be loud and clear. You use a gun during the commission of a crime, or you are negligent with your gun, you go to prison with mandatory enhanced sentences.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
The following crime and sentencing provisions should be included in the “Omnibus Gun Violence And Gun Control Act”:
- Making possession of a handgun by someone who commits a crime an aggravated third-degree felony mandating a 6-year minimum sentence.
- Increase the firearm enhancement penalties provided for the brandishing a firearm in the commission of a felony from 3 years to 10 years for a first offense and for a second or subsequent felony in which a firearm is brandished 12 years.
- Create a new category of enhanced sentencing for use of a lethal weapon or deadly weapon other than a firearm where there is blandishment of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony with enhanced sentences of 5 years for a first offense and for second or subsequent felony in which a lethal weapon other than a firearm is brandished 8 years
- Make it a third-degree felony for failure to secure a firearm mandating a 3-year sentence. Gun owners would have to keep their firearms in a locked container and make them inaccessible to anyone but the owner or authorized users.
- Increase the penalty of shooting randomly into a crowded area a second-degree felony mandating a 9-year sentence.
- Allow firearm offenses used in a drug crime to be charged separately.
- Change bail bond to statutorily empower judges with far more discretionary authority to hold and jail those pending trial who have prior violent crime reported incidents without shifting the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense.
- Mandate public school systems and higher education institutions to “harden” their facilities with more security doors, security windows, security measures, including metal detectors at single entrances designated and alarm systems and security cameras tied directly to law enforcement 911 emergency operations centers.
- Make organized retail crime a specific offense punishable by felony charges when value of goods stolen exceeds certain threshold.
- Cases of juveniles arrested in possession of a weapon are to be referred the District Attorney for automatic prosecution as an adult for sentencing.
- Make it a 3rd degree felony if a person recklessly stores a firearm and a minor gains access to it to threaten or harms someone.
GUN CONTROL MEASURES
The act would include the following gun regulation measures:
- Outlaw possession and sale assault weapon style weapons such as AR-15-style rifles and pistols with magazines of 10 rounds or more making it a third degree felony with a 6 year mandatory sentence.
- Outlaw the sale of “ghost guns” parts.
- Outlaw possession of semiautomatic firearm converters.
- Limit all retail gun purchases of all types of guns per person to one gun per month.
- Institute mandatory extended waiting period to a full month for gun purchases.
- Outlaw the straw purchase of guns for someone who isn’t legally able to make the purchase themselves.
- Outlaw the sale in New Mexico of “bump-fire stocks” and other accessories.
- Allow crime victims to sue gun manufacturers for actual and punitive damages.
- Require the mandatory purchase of “liability insurance” with each gun sold.
- Implement in New Mexico mandatory handgun licensing, permitting, training, and registration requirements.
- Expand gun ownership age limitation to 19 for rifles and shotguns.
- Expand the prohibition of deadly weapons from a school campus to school zones making it a third-degree felony.
- Call for a constitutional amendment to repeal the New Mexico Constitutional provision that allows the “open carry” of firearms. This would require a statewide vote and would ensure a healthy debate.
The Omnibus Violent Crime and Gun Control Act must include funding for the criminal justice system. This would include funding District Attorney’s Offices, the Public Defender’s Office, the Courts and the Corrections Department.”
Pete Dinelli is a native of Albuquerque. He is a licensed New Mexico attorney with 27 years of municipal and state government service including as an assistant attorney general, assistant district attorney prosecuting violent crimes, city of Albuquerque deputy city attorney and chief public safety officer, Albuquerque city councilor, and several years in private practice. Dinelli publishes a blog covering politics in New Mexico: www.PeteDinelli.com.
The link to the Dinelli Albuquerque Journal guest column is here:
ABOUT THE NEW MEXICO SUN
The New Mexico Sun is part of the Sun Publishing group which is a nonprofit. The New Mexico Sun “mission statement” states in part:
“The New Mexico Sun was established to bring fresh light to issues that matter most to New Mexicans. It will cover the people, events, and wonders of our state. … The New Mexico Sun is non-partisan and fact-based, and we don’t maintain paywalls that lead to uneven information sharing. We don’t publish quotes from anonymous sources that lead to skepticism about our intentions, and we don’t bother our readers with annoying ads about products and services from non-locals that they will never buy. … Many New Mexico media outlets minimize or justify problematic issues based on the individuals involved or the power of their positions. Often reporters fail to ask hard questions, avoid making public officials uncomfortable, and then include only one side of a story. This approach doesn’t provide everything readers need to fully understand what is happening, why it matters, and how it will impact them or their families.”
The home page link to the New Mexico Sun is here: