In the wake of the school shooting tragedy in Newtown, ProgressNow New Mexico joins Americans in calling for action on responsible gun control. The following statement was issued from our executive director:
"When I signed up to serve as a police officer more than a decade ago, it was inconceivable to believe that the most dangerous place I would serve would be a school instead of a street corner in a gang-ravaged neighborhood.
"Yet, our country changed and places like Columbine, Tucson, Virginia Tech - and now, sadly, Newtown - have taken the place of South Central and Anacostia in defining gun violence in America. In my decade of service, I came to worry more about violence serving as a university police officer than I had been in a huge urban metropolitan department.
"The time for prolonged debates and discussion on responsible gun ownership ran out at 9:30 on Friday morning. I cannot imagine the fear felt by those innocent lives as their young angels watched the horror befalling their friends and soon to befall themselves.
We agree with President Obama that it's time for a plan and time for action. As a proud and responsible gun owner, I know we can protect my 2nd Amendment rights without giving easy access to weapons of war to those who are unprepared to handle them responsibly. A recent survey by conservative pollster Frank Luntz found that 87-percent of NRA members believe that we can protect our 2nd Amendment rights while keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and 74-percent of those members believe gun buyers should undergo background checks. Yet, 40% of gun sales currently go to those who never undergo background checks, and the overwhelming majority of these mass-shooting perpetrators would not be able to pass those checks if required. They would be denied because they are children, mentally unstable or violent towards others; yet, special interests spend millions of dollars to protect the loopholes these perpetrators walk through to become national terrorists.
"We have seen bipartisan agreement on responsible gun laws before, including here in New Mexico. Unapologetically progressive, we supported Governor Martinez's conservative administration when it rescinded concealed carry reciprocity agreements with states whose concealed permit standards did not live up to our own standards of responsibility. We can, and should, do the same here and across the country if we put our children first and our politics second. Our country is ready. We are ready. Who will join us?"
-Patrick Davis is the Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico and a former police officer with the US Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Departments in Washington, DC and a Lieutenant with the University of New Mexico Police Department in Albuquerque. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.