One can’t but help feel a little sympathy for New Mexico Democrats. They’ve held majorities in the state legislature for the better part of 90 years and the state continually ranks last by almost every measure.
Like all politicians, they feel they have to “do something,” and so they keep trying, even when their efforts are nonsensical and hypocritical.
The cognitive dissonance is strong in Democrats. Minors are mature enough to vote two years before they are allowed to fight and die for their country, but they are not mature enough at 18 to carry a weapon for self defense.
It is already a misdemeanor for a person under the age of 19 to possess a firearm in New Mexico, with few exceptions (while hunting or attending hunter’s or gun safety courses, target or competitive shooting, or under supervision and on the property of a “parent, grandparent or legal guardian,” according to New Mexico Statutes Section 30–7–2.2).
Democrats want to up the penalty to a felony.
It should be noted that the law does not distinguish between a felony weapons charge in the commission of a crime. The penalties for murder or robbery appear to be unchanged this legislative session. Merely holding the weapon is itself the crime.
Just as there is no scientific reason why someone should be able to vote at 16 as opposed to 15, there is no explanation as to why a 19 year old can possess a firearm without breaking the law but an 18 year old cannot.
The new bill comes on the heels of two high-profile murders involving teenaged suspects. Seventeen year old Adrian Avila and 18-year-old Anna Bella Dukes recently turned themselves in to authorities in relation to the February 2021 shooting death of Elias Otero of Albuquerque. Dukes allegedly lured Otero’s younger brother Nicholas Otero via social media, kidnapped him, and ended up shooting his brother after demanding cash, jewelry, and a gun.
Just last week, two 18-year-olds were charged with the murder of a massage parlor owner in an attempted robbery.
Do Democrats believe the teenaged suspects in these murders would have been less homicidal had they known they would face felonies rather than mere misdemeanor possession charges for their attempted robberies?
Whatever the rationale, the effects are easy to predict. Law abiding citizens will lose whatever respect for the law they have managed to hold onto during the last two years of government overreach. And hopefully they will never have to contemplate whether their lives were worth their obedience if they ever find themselves unarmed in a deadly situation, which is increasingly likely in cities like Albuquerque.
Outside of the cities, the new law will mean less with as a felony than it did as a misdemeanor, because no sheriff, seeing young Billy the U.S. Marine open-carrying a firearm at the grocery store between tours will ever say, “Hey son, I know you’re serving your country and all, and I appreciate that, and feeding your family to boot, but because you don’t turn 19 for another two weeks, I’m gonna have to arrest you on a felony possession charge that will not only result in a court martial and a dis-honorary discharge from the military, but very well may land you in prison for 18 months. Tell your mom and dad I said ‘howdy’ when you talk to them on your one call from jail.”
It hasn’t yet occurred to Democrats that the reason there is less crime outside of cities is because firearms are respected in rural America. Rather than increase penalties for the criminal use of firearms or pass laws funding firearm safety courses and educational programs to teach citizens self defense, the state legislature is seeking to criminalize law abiding citizens who have done nothing more than create law and order in their communities.
Run your experiment.