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New Mexico to receive 4 new machines to help combat gun violence

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – State leaders are combining local and federal resources in hopes of tackling gun violence in our state. It involves linking law enforcement to a national network.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, Attorney General Raúl Torrez and Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart announced they’re adding new “NIBIN” machines across the state. It comes as we continue to see a rise in gun violence.

“We, according to the latest UCR reports, are the second most dangerous state in the United States. And according to that same data, the unsolved rate of violent crime is nearly 75%,” said Torrez. 

NIBIN stands for National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. It comes from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, and Firearms.

“These are the machines that analyze shell casings and really are able to quantify the geometric relationship between a particular casing and a particular firearm,” Heinrich said.

Heinrich says New Mexico currently has three of these machines: two in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe.

“I was able to work through the appropriations process to get funding this year for a little over $1,000,000 to put NIBIN machines in Farmington and Gallup and Las Cruces and Roswell. Rather than having law enforcement officers driving from the very ends of the state to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, where the only machines exist right now,” said Heinrich. 

As the machines are set up in their new cities, the attorney general’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center will train officers on how to use them. The data collected can be shared across county and city lines.

“Those casings can then be analyzed and traced back to networks that we know not only traffic in firearms, but trade firearms for narcotics or use firearms in a variety of different violent crimes, not just in the metro area but across jurisdictional boundaries,” Torrez said.  

Analysts will then use that information to help agencies make arrests. Stewart believes the machines are game changers.

“It connects this round to a specific weapon, a specific weapon. How invaluable is that? It’s an incredible tool in our arsenal. We need to start stepping up to technology. We need to embrace that which can make policing more efficient, more scientific, more unarguable in a sense, with prosecutions,” said Stewart. 

ATF is going to help set up the machines. Once they’re installed, communities across the state will have access to them.