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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

NM gun-control advocates praise federal rule closing 'gun show loophole'

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Monday, April 15, 2024   

Background checks on those who purchase firearms at gun shows may soon be expanded.

The Justice Department last week issued a directive to close the so-called "gun show loophole." A final rule submitted to the Federal Register changes the definition of firearm sellers, ultimately requiring they obtain a federal firearms license to sell guns at gun shows, flea markets and over the internet.

Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, welcomed the new rule.

"There is no reason why anybody should be able to walk into any gun show in the United States of America, if there's not a background check law at the state level, and be able to purchase firearms, no questions asked," Viscoli contended.

The new rule would classify around 23,000 vendors as licensed firearms dealers, making their gun sales subject to checks. The Biden administration has said the rule does not conflict with the Second Amendment, but two Republican senators have already announced plans to introduce a joint resolution to overturn the rule.

Earlier this year, New Mexico lawmakers approved, and the governor signed, several firearms-related bills. One prohibits guns within 100-feet of polling places during a state election. And Viscoli said another bill could reduce the number of sales at gun shows.

"In New Mexico, and this does pertain to gun shows, we just passed a seven-day hold on the sale of firearms," Viscoli noted. "That's going to make it very difficult for gun shows because they would have to mail those guns to people."

In starting her position in 2013, Viscoli attended gun shows to see how easy or difficult it was to buy guns. Despite telling dealers she had forgotten her driver's license and had no identification, she said she was assured it wouldn't be a problem. Ten years later, she believes the proliferation of guns is out of control.

"It's coming to define who we are both as a state in New Mexico and as a country," Viscoli observed. "I mean, when gun violence is a leading cause of death for young people, I don't know why we're not sitting at the table and figuring, 'What the heck do we do about this?'"


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