New Mexico op-ed
The National Rifle Association is once again trying to boost the sale of firearms at the expense of our well-being by asking Congress to pass the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
If passed, this law would allow those with concealed carry permits to take their firearms across all state lines. The states that boast the weakest concealed carry laws would trump states that have passed stricter laws. (So much for states’ rights.) More concealed carry permits lead to the sale of more handguns. While that may be good for the gun industry, it has a demonstrable negative impact on the safety of our communities.
Here is why: Our laws in New Mexico work. According to the Violence Policy Center their research shows that from 2007 to the present New Mexico has not had one incident of a concealed carry killer. That means there have been zero incidents with a law enforcement officer killed by a concealed carry permit holder, a private citizen, a mass shooting or a murder suicide. Only 12 other states can boast such good statistics. The reason we have such a good track record is because our strict laws on these permit holders are working. In fact, when the NRA lobby tried to weaken our New Mexico laws this last legislative session with five separate bills, our state legislators boldly voted against every one of them.
The numbers from the New Mexico Department of Health confirm a 42 percent rise in concealed carry permits in our state (from 12,000 in June of 2012 to 40,000 in 2014). As of today, at least 10 states issue a permit without first requiring some kind of firearms safety training. At least 10 states issue a permit to people convicted of violent misdemeanors and 19 states will allow people with a demonstrated history of drug or alcohol abuse to carry concealed firearms.
If Congress passes this law, the 1,400 felons to whom Florida issued permits since 2007 and/or the 2,400 felons to whom North Carolina issued permits from 2007 to 2011 would now be welcome to carry firearms in our state.