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New Mexico senator helps write bill aimed at stopping gun trafficking

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KFOX14) — The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was passed in late June and it allowed for more extensive background checks and is expected to help prosecute firearm traffickers more severely.

We spoke with U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich from New Mexico who helped write this new bill to include a law that would help stop gun trafficking and give stronger penalties to those who engaged in it.

This is some of the most powerful borderland security we will now be able to go after some of that organized activity in a way that we weren’t previously," said Heinrich. "Every gun that doesn’t get trafficked south of the border makes not only those communities safer but our communities safer as well.

Heinrich said the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will make it easier to prosecute straw purchasers, which are those who purchase firearms for other people that should not own firearms.

He said guns are often trafficked in this way into South America and Mexico.

"Something like 70 percent of the guns recovered after a crime actually are American firearms that were then through a straw purchaser purchased and then trafficked to feed the drug war in places like Mexico," said Heinrich.

The bill also requires more extensive background checks for anyone under the age of 21 purchasing a firearm, and schools were given funds to provide mental health services for students.

We spoke to multiple Las Cruces residents to get their thoughts on the bill funding mental health services for schools. They all told us it was necessary.

"These kids get disturbed, bullied you know all that kind of stuff and then they just snap," said Jacob Boles.

"I know that there are kids that you know see things in movies or video games and are like 'well if it’s that simple to do why don’t I do it?' And they go and shoot a random guy on the street," said Logan Cook.

This bill was signed by President Biden into law a few days after it was passed by the Senate.

Heinrich also told us that with this new bill, they are expecting to see more people get prosecuted for straw purchasing, which is when a purchaser is actually buying a gun on behalf of someone else.