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7-day gun wait starts today

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7-day gun wait starts today

Levi Hill/News-Sun

Starting today, New Mexicans will have to wait a mandatory seven days before they can take home a new gun purchase.

New Mexico joins at least a dozen other states with extended waiting periods. The sale of a firearm before the seven days are expired would become an unlawful sale.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 129 into law back in March, saying the wait is double the current waiting period required by the federal government.

However, the federal government has no mandatory waiting period. Potential buyers must fill out a form 4473, which is then submitted to the FBI’s criminal background check system by the Federal Firearms License holder.

The FBI can return one of three responses: Proceed, which allows the firearm to be sold that day; Delayed, which requires a five-day wait while the FBI does further research; Or denied, prohibiting the sale. Failure by FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to return a “proceed” or “denied” response within five days allows the dealer to proceed with the sale, but if a “denied” response comes back at a later date, the dealer must report that sale to the FBI.

New Mexican Republicans tried to file a referendum to let voters decide if they wanted that week-long waiting period, but Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver denied that move. The next step would be to file a federal lawsuit.

So far, Lea County residents have shown some concern over the new law, but it is possible many still are not aware of its existence, or that it goes into effect today.

“I haven’t seen an uptick in sales,” said Dwayne Penick, co-owner of 2A Tactical. “This is our slow season and it has been about the same as last year.”

Penick, however, said interest in concealed carry classes has been on the rise.

New Mexicans with a state-issued concealed carry permit are exempt from the seven-day wait.

“We have seen an increase in people asking about the concealed carry courses,” Penick said. “I thought my license would be in a couple weeks ago, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Other instructors I speak with said their classes are filling up.”

He said the wait will likely take a toll on all gun sellers.

“I think it is going to hurt all gun stores,” Penick said. “People want to buy now. They don’t want to wait seven days. If they have to wait, they may be over getting a new gun by the time the wait is over.”

Luis Ruiz, owner of Combat Arms, a small firearms dealer and concealed carry instructor, said interest in Concealed Carry Weapon permit classes has jumped in recent months.

“It has gone up probably 30 percent in the last few months,” Ruiz said.

A class Ruiz has scheduled for May 18 and 19 is 80 percent full. Anyone wishing to sign up may contact him at (575) 318-9115.

The new waiting period may be a major hurdle for sellers and inconvenience for buyers, but what’s coming down the pipe has everyone even more concerned.

“(Clients) are also kind of worried about any other restrictions the governor may impose like making it harder to get a CCW,” Ruiz said, adding many of his recent students have never owned a firearm before. “What really surprises me is the number of people who have never dabbled in the Second Amendment before and they are worried about it here in New Mexico.”

“I am just waiting to see what she does in this special session,” Penick said. “It is going to be a gun grab if she can get it through. I believe she just wants revolvers and bolt actions to be legal.”

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