New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV) is a 501(c)3 non-partisan organization whose mission is to reduce firearm injury and death through public health, education, advocacy, and public awareness, in order to protect the safety of our families and communities.
Who We Are
In January of 2013, a group of concerned citizens formed New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence in response not only to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School (where 20 children and 6 adult staff members were fatally shot) but also to the escalating gun violence that was starting to define our state and country.
We are several thousand members strong from across the state of New Mexico. We partner with schools, school boards, cities, counties, police departments and interfaith groups as well as national and local organizations to reduce gun violence in our state.
Why we work
People are using guns to kill, injure and traumatize New Mexico’s children and families, with costly consequences for entire communities. Gun safety is a particularly acute problem for children in New Mexico.
In 2013, the third leading cause of death for New Mexican children ages 1-18 was homicide, with 74% of those deaths occurring by firearm. Source: NM Vital Records.
In the same year, the second leading cause of death for New Mexican children ages 1-18 was suicide, with 34% of deaths occurring with a firearm. Source: NM Vital Records.
For every death, there are often hundreds of gun-related injuries that go unreported by private health providers. New Mexico is the 10th worst state for gun deaths. Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fatal injury Data," at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal.html.
DATA ON GUN VIOLENCE
Between 2001 and 2010, 3.12 children were killed by firearm every year for every 100,000 residents in New Mexico—a total of 64 – a higher per capita mortality rate than all but 3 states. Moreover, there were more than 87 aggravated assaults with a firearm for every 100,000 residents, the 6th highest rate in the country. The state’s largest metropolitan area, Albuquerque, had one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation, with 662 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents. Source: 247wallst.com
New Mexico was rated the 10th worst state for female victims murdered by males. 60% of these homicides were related to domestic violence, and 56% were the result of gun violence. Source: Violence Policy Center, "When Men Murder Women" www.vpc.org.
New Mexico is the 2nd most dangerous state in the Union. New Mexico’s violent crime rate rose 6.6% between 2012 and 2013- the sharpest rise in the nation- to nearly 597 yearly reported violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Source: www.247wallst.com/special-report/2014/06/26/231958
From 2001 to 2010, 2,932 people were killed by guns in New Mexico. New Mexico’s gun death rate is 40% higher than the U.S. average. To put that in perspective, from 2001 to 2010 the number of people killed by guns in New Mexico was 70% higher than the number of soldiers killed in U.S. combat in Afghanistan. Source: "War Casualties" statistics from the U.S. Department of Defense at www.defense.gov/casualty.pdf.
Gun deaths are approaching the number of vehicular deaths in New Mexico. In 2011 there were 317 vehicular deaths compared to 308 gun deaths. Source: Center for Disease Control, 2011.
There are policy initiatives that have proven effective to reduce gun-related violence. The most effective are:
- Allow safe, legal use of guns.
- Restricting access to people with a history of violence.
- Focus on monitoring gun sales.
- Limit guns in public places.
We support the following common sense and science-based prevention strategies.
To learn more about our legislative priorities please click on the following topics (+)
What do the Columbine shooters, Timothy McVeigh, Branch Dividian leader David Koresh, John Bedell (who shot two Pentagon officers in 2010), serial killer Timothy Diller, Whitey Bulgar, Ali Boumelhen (a member of the terrorist group Hezbollah who was charged for conspiring to smuggle guns and ammunition from Michigan to Lebanon) and Traves Morales (one of the most violent drug lords in the Mexican Drug Cartel) have in common—other than being criminals?
Every single one of them used the gun show loophole to buy his firearms at gun shows. By closing the gun show loophole, every gun buyer at a gun show would undergo a background check prior to purchasing a gun. As of today, in New Mexico, a background check is not required for the purchase of a gun from a private seller at a gun show – though a background check is required of all gun buyers from licensed gun shops in the state.
History of our policy work to close the gun show loophole in NM: Since 2013, we have worked closely with legislators to close the loophole through HB44. In 2013, HB44 passed with bipartisan support in the House, but stalled in the Senate due to the NRA lobbyist and a partisan filibuster. To garner support for the bill, we held several rallies which drew hundreds of concerned citizens. The 2014 rally was co-sponsored by the City of Santa Fe. We promoted the initiative on local television and radio shows throughout the state. In addition, we collected and hand delivered thousands of signatures to the governor.
Guns in the building where lawmakers debate gun policy can have a chilling and intimidating effect on debate. During legislative session, our committee rooms can become filled with tension and high emotions when the public is testifying. Guns have no business being in these rooms. New Mexicans for Gun Safety believes that being armed and loaded inhibits the democratic process. Not only is it unsafe, but it makes it difficult to get people to testify when they know people will be there with a loaded gun.
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence has worked with legislators and testified in support of getting guns out of the Capitol building since 2013. In addition, we have written and published editorials and spoken on numerous radio shows, including the Mary Charlotte Show and the David Bacon show on KSFR in order to educate the public about the dangers of guns in our capitol building.
House Bill 544: Child Access Prevention (CAP)
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence worked with Representative Stephanie Maez to draft legislation to pass a CAP law in New Mexico. The League of Women Voters, as well as dozens of non-profits in New Mexico, signed our community compact and voiced their support. Board member, Miranda Viscoli, served as the expert witness. The bill was not tabled, but will be amended and presented at an interim panel in November. Representative Brian Egolf offered to help work on the bill in order to hammer out the logistics of a passing a CAP law in New Mexico.
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence helped block four bills intended to weaken our Concealed Carry Laws. We worked to block a national campaign to weaken state, concealed carry permit laws. The NRA pushed to weaken state laws nationwide by promoting laws that would treat concealed carry permits like drivers licenses with reciprocity in each state. When we blocked these four bills in New Mexico, we helped to dismantle the whole national campaign. (New Mexico has some of the strictest concealed carry restrictions.) Hours of research, days of testimony and countless visits and letters to legislators paid off.
Schools are safer when teachers are not armed. New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence will continue to monitor proposed legislation to make sure guns stay out of schools.
"One of the reasons why there are so few homicides at school is because these places are largely successful at keeping guns off the premises. Adult supervision and, in very high-risk schools, metal detectors have proven to be effective deterrents. While there are no specific data regarding having armed adults in schools, an analysis of U.S. mortality data found that people with guns in the home are at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide there. There is no reason to think schools would be any different: the more guns there are, the more opportunities there are to use them." Source: Debora Gorman Smith and Michele McLaughlin, Time Magazine, December 21, 2012.
Overview of 2014 Legislative Work
We continued our work to close the gun show loophole. We held a rally at the capitol with over one hundred people attending. The rally was co-sponsored by the City of Santa Fe. Speakers included Dr.Laurence Shandler, who spoke on behalf of the New Mexico Pediatrics Society, Police Chief Ray Rael, Rev. Dr. Harry Eberts, and many members of the interfaith community. At the end of the rally, over 70 supporters (with local news teams filming) took a petition with over 3,000 signatures to Governor Martinez’ office.
NMGS participated on a Courts and Corrections panel where we presented a paper on the negative effects of gun shows not requiring background checks on all gun sales. (www.nmlegis.gov source)
Overview of 2015 Legislative Work
In 2015, we continued to work closely with legislators to close the gun show loophole. We knew that with the Republican majority in the House, we did not have the vote, but that did not stop us. We filled the committee room with over fifty people, including peace activist John Dear, to testify for the bill. We outnumbered the opposition. Our very own board member, Dr. Jim Webster, was the expert witness for the bill, giving the committee detailed and well researched testimony as to why the passage of House Bill 44 would make our state and country safer. Our testimony included the resolution we wrote with the Santa Fe City Council to support the bill. (The resolution was passed unanimously by the City of Santa Fe.)
Senate Memorial to make October 22nd a Statewide Day to support the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence and A Statewide Day of Concern about Young People and Gun Violence.
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence worked with Senator Nancy Rodriguez on this memorial. It passed unanimously in the Senate. Mary Lewis Grow (creator of the Student Pledge), Santa Fe Public School Board President, Steve Carrillo, and Miranda Viscoli were there to receive the memorial on the Senate floor. This memorial, coupled with the New Mexico School Board Association’s resolution to encourage all schools to support the pledge, is an important step in implementing the Student Pledge throughout New Mexico in the coming year.
Overview of 2016 Legislative Work
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence Helped pass House Bill 336. This bill requires New Mexico Courts to report mental health records into the National Instant Criminal Background check System (NICS) and makes New Mexico eligible for federal grant money to help support NICS. These mental health records are crucial in gun violence prevention as sixty eight percent of gun violence in New Mexico comes from suicide. New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence has worked for four years to get this legislation passed, and we are proud to stand together with our New Mexico legislature to promote gun violence prevention.
NMPGV succeeded in blocking every NRA bill during the 2016 and 2017 session.
Overview of 2017 Legislative Work
NMPGV worked for two years on SB 259. This important piece of legislation would have prohibited misdemeanor domestic violence offenders under protective orders from being able to possess firearms while under the order. We worked with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence on the bill. Our stakeholder’s table included the Office of the Attorney General, District Attorney Jennifer Padgett, law enforcement, gun owners, domestic violence groups, staff from the House Majority Office and judges. The bill passed the House and Senate with strong bi-partisan support. It was vetoed by Governor Martinez.
Public Education Work
We are working to increase public awareness of the magnitude of the problem, effects, causes and prevention of gun violence.
Dr. Amy Goldberg, a trauma surgeon, speaks to the devasting effects of What Bullets Do to Bodies in a HuffPost April 2017 article by Jason Fagone. As the author says "The gun debate would change in an instant if Americans witnessed the horrors that trauma surgeons confront every day."
To learn more about our various campaigns and programs click on the following topics (+)
Gun Violence Prevention Programs have been shown to increase knowledge about the costs of gun-related violence, to decrease the incidences of gun-related violence, and to help prevent such violence. For more information on why these programs work, go to:
In 2013, we worked closely with Senators and Representatives to get a $100,000.00 appropriation for gun violence prevention in the state of New Mexico. We also passed a resolution with the City of Santa Fe and Rio Arriba County to fund and distribute bus ads that remind people to lock up their guns. We designed bus and bench ads for Santa Fe. We passed a similar resolution with Rio Arriba County, the Pojoaque School Board and the Santa Fe Public School Board.
Gun safety public awareness, education, and community mobilizing is on-going. Outreach programs continue with local governments, schools, healthcare agencies, community and faith-based groups. Through the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence and our interactive tables at Community Events, we are making our state safer from gun violence, injury and death.
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence has worked with cities and school boards to pass gun violence prevention resolutions to help make our communities safer. We support resolutions as a way to increase public awareness of the issues.
Resolution 2012/2013-30 A resolution on Background Checks, Ban on Assault Weapons, Excessive Capacity Ammunition, and Support Programs Geared Towards the Education of Gun Safety Awareness. Santa Fe Public School Board.
Resolution 2013-70 3/12/2013 [PDF 115.3 K] A resolution authorizing the establishment of a gun safety public service announcement (PSA) campaign to promote gun safety awareness by placing PSAs on Santa Fe Trails buses and benches. www.sfps.info/index.aspx?NID=2059 Santa Fe
Resolution 2014/2015-10 - A resolution on the Statewide Initiative in Support of the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence, New Mexico School Board Association.
Resolution 2014/15-6 A resolution of the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence, Santa Fe Public School Board, Santa Fe
Resolution No. 2015 (Councilor Ives and Councilor Lindell) A resolution Supporting Proposed State Legislation, House Bill 44 (HB 44) – Creation of The Firearm Transfer Act. (Melissa Byers) Santa Fe City Council, Santa Fe
Resolution No. 3-26-14 A resolution for the Pojoaque Valley School Board to support educational programs geared towards Gun Safety and safe gun storage - document not housed on any website. Pojoaque
Resolution No. 2015-017 A resolution to create a gun safety program through the use of public service announcements on public venues in Rio Arriba County
NMGS designed and created bus, bench and bus stop ads for the City of Santa Fe, and directed, produced and recorded a Public Service Announcement that educated the community on the importance of locking up guns.
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence partnered with Mary Lewis Grow (creator of the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence www.pledge.org), the Santa Fe Public School Board, the City of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Police Department to launch The Pledge throughout the public and private school systems. The Santa Fe Public School Board worked with New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence to write a resolution that designated October 22nd as the National Day of Concern about Young People and Gun Violence. On this day, thousands of students both in Santa Fe and in Northern New Mexico signed The Pledge.
In the 2015 legislative session, we worked with Senator Nancy Rodriguez to pass a memorial to make October 22nd a statewide Day of Concern about Young People and Gun Violence, as well as to support the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence. We worked with the New Mexico School Board Association to pass a resolution to encourage schools throughout New Mexico to support the Pledge.
We have held preliminary meetings with the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque Public School Police and School Board member Dr. David Peercy, Santa Fe School Superintendent Dr. Joel Boyd, and School Board member Steve Carrillo to plan for the 2015 Student Pledge on October 22nd.
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence launched the Gun Owners Pledge at various events throughout the state. We worked throughout Rio Arriba County, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque to hand out hundreds of free gunlocks and gun safety information, as well as having the Gun Owners Pledge signed. We attended Health fairs, Pueblo events, Parent Safety Nights, Health Day at the Capitol building, an anti-bullying program sponsored by the City of Santa Fe and the Community Day on the plaza.
Gun Owners Pledge
I understand that as a gun owner there are inherent responsibilities in owning a gun. I promise that my firearms will never be accessed by vulnerable persons. I will always maintain supervision of my firearms when there are children or teenagers on my property. I will insure that my stored firearms are locked and unloaded when I am not home.
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence began a "No Firearms" sticker campaign throughout the City of Santa Fe. When businesses place these stickers on their business windows and doors, gun owners are not allowed to practice their open carry or concealed carry rights, thus making our city safer. At this point, whole blocks are designated as "Firearm Free Zones."
The Cost of Gun Violence
Costs are both emotional and financial. Losing a child, parent or grandparent to gun violence is an immeasurable emotional cost and the tangible financial costs run into the millions. An investigation by Mother Jones and health economist, Ted Miller, from the Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation, found that the annual price tag of gun violence in our country is $229 billion or 1/16 of the US Federal Budget. Source: Mother Jones, June 15, 2015.
This map illustrates the kinds of gun-related tragedies occurring around the state. Each death, injury or gun incident represents only the tip of the iceberg—as each gun-related death can lead to trauma (emotional and financial) for entire families, schools and communities.
Click on a county to view details
Board of Directors
Our all-volunteer board represents a cross-section of New Mexicans focused on the safety of our children, families and communities.
Rev. Dr. Harry Eberts, Co-president
Miranda Viscoli, Co-president
Paula McClean, Vice president
Dr. Jim Webster, Professor of Medicine Emeritus, Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University, Secretary
Marion Jackson, Treasurer, Editor
Ann Maxwell, Legislative Liaison
Jade Gordon, Liaison to States United Against Gun Violence
Matthew Higginbotham, Art Director and Coordinator
Dr. Elise Packard
SUPPORT OUR MISSION
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence is a 501(c)3 volunteer coalition that relies on your support. Keeping our children and families safe from gun violence depends on the support of New Mexicans committed to health and safety. Please donate and consider joining us. Our membership is free, but donations are greatly appreciated.
The Cost of a Bullet. Stories of Gun Violence in New Mexico
Do you have a story to tell about gun violence? Have you—or someone you know—ever been the victim of a gunshot? Family? Friend? Co-worker? If so, then New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence wants to hear your story.
We think that, if there are enough of your true stories about the real cost of a bullet—either on our website or in a video we are making, then everyone might really get the heart of the problem with gun violence in our state.