On Saturday, people can take the opportunity to get guns off the street.

The Santa Fe Police Department and the nonprofit New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence are teaming Saturday to collect unwanted guns from anyone who wants to turn one in — no questions asked. From 9 a.m. to noon at the Santa Fe Municipal Court, 2511 Camino Entrada, individuals can drop off unloaded but working guns — and in return, be given gift cards ranging from $100 to $250 depending on the weapon.

Free gun locks also will be available.

Once collected, the guns will be turned into garden tools. To date, the nonprofit has repurposed nearly 1,000 guns at 13 buybacks.

Buybacks, of course, are just one strategy.

As The New Mexican reported Sunday, the gun problem is bigger than a series of buybacks can handle. In a recent, extensive story on the issue, reporter Victoria Traxler focused on how teenagers can buy guns easily (“ ‘You wanna protect yourself,’ ” Nov. 7). That’s despite state law making it illegal for anyone under 19 to possess or purchase a handgun (although there is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns).

Using technology or the occasional obliging older friend, teens who see guns as symbols of power, or who believe they “need” weapons for self-defense, are buying them. As a result, Santa Fe has seen a rash of gun crimes involving young people.

Many of those guns, bought illegally, are available on the street because they were stolen. The guns often are stored by individuals too ignorant or too sloppy to do the job properly. Guns in the home should be locked securely and ammunition stored separately. That makes it difficult for burglars to steal weapons, as well as reducing the opportunity for accidental or impulse shootings.

It’s another example of how some gun owners can be irresponsible — with few repercussions. For all the shouting about the right to own guns as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, we have seen little discussion about responsibilities that accompany such rights. A gun owner must be responsible for learning to fire and store weapons safely. Those who fail in such basic tasks need to be held to account.

Beyond punishing the irresponsible and the criminal, more thought must be directed to preventing gun violence. That’s why many gun safety advocates are asking the governor to establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention. It’s a strategy to treat gun violence as what it is — a public health crisis as well as criminal matter.

Legislation to establish the office is among several crime bills Democrats have said they will introduce in January. Endorsed this week by the Legislature’s Courts, Corrections, and Justice Committee, it would begin as a place to gather information about current gun violence before making policy suggestions.

As discussed in a recent opinion piece (“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” My View, Oct. 24), Miranda Viscoli and the Rev. Harry Eberts, co-presidents of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, noted 472 people in the state died from gun violence in 2020, compared to 149 who perished in DWI-related crashes. “Our state works together and spends over $20 million yearly to reduce harm from DWIs,” they wrote. “Yet, we continue to spend little to eradicate gun violence.”

Targeting the issue with sensible legislation — including increased punishment for gun crimes and penalties for failing to store weapons properly — is important in New Mexico, which has the fourth-highest rate of gun violence in the country. Until those big solutions are implemented, there’s this: Every gun off the street is one less gun that can cause harm. That makes Saturday’s buyback an important date to keep on the calendar.

(24) comments

Michael Kiley

There are almost no self-defensive gun uses, and gun deaths are 89% yourself, a relative or friend, by FBI, CDC and Harvard data, all online. Afraid? get a dog or two. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-15.xls AND https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-10.xls You will never, NEVER, use a gun lethally in self-defense. A number from the FBI the NRA fears and avoids like the Wicked Witch of the West fears and avoids water, is 300. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, despite 300 million guns in civilian hands in the US, there are only about 300 defensive homicides from year to year http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_15_justifiable_homicide_by_weapon_private_citizen_2008-2012.xls That number is 6 per state each year. SIX.

Your chance of using a gun lethally in self-defense is 1/1,000,000. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

If you kill someone with a gun, the chance is 90% that it will be yourself, a relative or a friend http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_10_murder_circumstances_by_relationship_2013.xls

Countries that have banned semi-automatic handguns and rifles, large magazines and pump-action shotguns, like Great Britain, have 60 gun deaths a year and one mayhem event in 15 years http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/335-156/12554-58-murders-a-year-by-firearms-in-britain-8775-in-us

Gun defenders claim from 80,000 to 2.5 million non-lethal "defensive gun uses" from a group of surveys that were all flawed by the self-report error and were small samples projected onto the entire country, the Harvard School of Public Health disproved these fanciful claims in a set of papers in peer-reviewed literature never retracted and found THERE IS NO VALID NUMBER FOR CLAIMED NON-LETHAL SELF-DEFENSIVE GUN USES, AND MOST WERE ACUTALLY PROVOCATIONS BY THE GUN TOTER FOLLOWED BY BRANDISHING http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/gun-threats-and-self-defense-gun-use-2/

Khal Spencer

It is a good idea to get guns out of the house if they are unwanted, neglected, a burden, or just lying around waiting to find trouble.

Today I was in a gun shop and a lady was putting a revolver on consignment that was left by a deceased relative. It looked like a nice example, so I came home and looked it up ( https://truegunvalue.com ). A mid 20th century Smith and Wesson revolver in very nice condition with a market value of $500-$600 bucks, roughly.

Was good to see her get it out of that proverbial sock drawer and hopefully, someone with an eye to collector value will purchase it after a 4473 quiz and she will get some money. But surely, its better to reduce the risk regardless of how it is done, but those appraisers are their for a reason.

Ditzy teens are not looking for collectable revolvers and I suspect anyone who buys that collectable gun will make sure it is not left lying around.

Common ground, anyone?

Miranda Viscoli

Khal enough. it is ridiculous.

Khal Spencer

All the best today, seriously. I do hope, though, that no one cuts up a collector's item. There are plenty of guns, though, that I hope are turned in and gotten off the street.

Mike Johnson

I had a person ask a very odd question lately, "Why do gun people need so many guns?" I said seriously? Do you know how many different North American animals there are to hunt, and how each requires a different gun to be efficient? Not to mention the "animals" that prowl around in the dark looking for cash for drug money.

Mike Johnson

Well said Khal, some people just don't get it it seems.

Miranda Viscoli

The purpose of giving gift cards is simply an incentive and a way to show our gratitude to the participants. Obviously, these prices do not reflect the actual cost of the guns. We have funded and facilitated 13 gun buybacks. Participants are extremely grateful that they can get rid of their unwanted guns and never have to worry about them again. Some have actually cried with relief. The naysayers that have commented in this article about our gun buybacks are forgetting what the purpose of this buyback is for. Our anonymous survey show that the MAJORITY are getting rid of their guns for safety reason. Many widows are left with multiple guns. Oftentimes participants are parents and grandparents. More and more people are bringing a gun in because their loved one has dementia and it is no longer safe to keep a gun in their home.

Mike Johnson

As a strict capitalist, I have no problem whatsoever in your giving out gift cards, or even cash to purchase unwanted guns. It is a free market transaction, and if the seller is too stupid to realize the value, that is their fault, not yours. I would like to see complete transparency about who is funding this, especially if it is dark money, billionaires, or political special interest pressure groups, people deserve to know that, IMO.

Pete Prince

If people want buyback programs to be more effective they should consider setting the price of the offer to match the current retail price for the weapon. A semi automatic rifle will typically retail at over $1,000 and can easily cost many times that. The organizers of buyback programs are pushing against common sense if they think an offer of one or two hundred dollars is going to remove those weapons from service. Just consider, " I know you just paid $60K for your new internal combustion powered vehicle but I am going to offer you $5K if you turn it into garden tools and replace it with a new EV." Do you really think many people will take you up on that proposal?

I suspect the offer price is low because offering a fair price would appear to be a "win" for the gun owner and anything that looks like a win for gun owners must be bad!

Khal Spencer

The $250 for an M1 Garand is what caught my eye. Those are worth about 1500 plus or minus, given their condition, and are considered collectable. Likewise, a pre-64 Winchester Mod. 70 hunting rifle is collectable, worth a compatible amount as the M1, and unlike the Garand, has little direct connection to a military weapon, other than most older military weapons had a similar bolt action.

Its not my business what people do with their property, and if folks want to destroy weapons, esp. those likely to be misused on the street rather than leaving them in a closet or sock drawer that is fine, but I hope folks take a good look at something before tossing it.

Khal Spencer

My big beef is that like my old man, I think guns should have two main ingredients: walnut and steel. NMTPGV, as far as I am concerned, can cut up as much of that modern polymer found-on-the-street stuff as people want to turn in.

Trouble is, its tough to even make a hand trowel out of a firearm that is mostly plastic and fiberglass. So the high value old pieces are obviously prized by the metalworkers. I think that was my big break with New Mexicans...


Miranda Viscoli

There were 481 people shot and killed in 2020 and 472 shot and killed in 2019.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Illegal Immigration. Gun Control. The Environment. All three serious issues: Too much, too little, 50-years too late.

"America", Rest-in-Pieces - The Book of Daniel 12:1 is Here.

Katherine Martinez

It seems there is always room to denigrate the innocent, law abiding homeowners attempting to protect themselves and their loved ones and lump them in with the real perpetrators in these cases (e.g. the thugs instigating the crimes). That really takes the cake. Its ideas like these that make conservatives cry afoul—aligning law abiding citizens with criminals. I’ve heard it all now.

Prince Michael Jauregui

As the father of a victim of gun violence, be clear: The U.S. "Government" and the news-media (print and broadcast) alike, have failed Americans - miserably. Without question, ALL shall be held -severely- accountable.

"Woe to arms manufacturers, large and small, the blood of our sons and daughters, past and present, drips from their hands...." The Declaration of 2008

"..Little Ralphie can read, and he can slang a gang of dope/A Nine is easier to find than daddy or some Hope/So cope with the world, keep passin' the buck/and while the future lives to die, looks like you better duck/and hold onto your children, the little boy and the girl/before they get caught-up in our Freaky Deaky World" - Freaky Deaky World by The Gangsta of Love (c) 1997 JONAH Productions/Melchizedek Muse Music

Khal Spencer

"....The guns often are stored by individuals too ignorant or too sloppy to do the job properly. .."

Unlike the ignorant sloppy people writing this editorial, eh?

The state constitution, for example, gives us the right to have a firearm for self defense. If guns are locked in one place and ammo in another, what are people supposed to do, ask a home invader for a timeout while we go to separate places to acquire a firearm and ammo?

This newspaper is ridiculous when it comes go anything to do with guns. The least you could do is leave out the insults. Since you will not do so, neither will I.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Whoa Khal, seems you were -ahem- triggered: You've made some great comments in the past, but, insults?.

This was one of the SF New Mexican's better editorials. Overstand, -if you will- the term "Ignorant" is not an insult. I'm ignorant to some aspects of Car Repair, Opera and the Printing Press. Sloppy? You've read some of my hurried comments. Heck, get me angry enough and I can barely speak - after a lifetime of being paid to speak in Radio.

Plainly sir, you have a bad case of NRA. You know, the firearm-industry shill that bought many politicians and pimped-out the U.S. Constitution to sell guns to anyone and everyone. Of course, we see how well THAT worked out.

Khal Spencer

Good morning, Prince Michael, but I've not been an NRA member since about 1983 when I told a phone volunteer to take a long walk off a short pier. Yep, I read that late last night and did blow a fuse. Given the anti gun stance in our legislature and newspaper, I might just join, though....

But seriously. As far as insults? Calling someone ignorant or sloppy because they don't subscribe to the New Mexican/Everytown's idea of storage is an insult. How about specifics instead of put-downs?

Frankly, storage should depend on the situation. You got vulnerable kids or do you have teens who have taken hunter safety classes and are trustworthy around weapons? Live in Lake Wobegon or in a high crime area with a lot of break-ins, courtesy of our revolving door criminal justice system that seems to reward criminals? Is there a prohibited person or a person with mental health issues short of a prohibition in the house? Or are you a farmer and wife out in the country with an elk rifle on a rack and no threats around?

As far as that idea of locking up a gun and having the ammo somewhere else? If you are keeping a firearm for self defense, let's say in our peaceful community of Albuquerque, it may be wiser to keep it with the ammo together in a biometric or otherwise quickly accessible safe or security box. And indeed, the state constitution has stronger wording on RKBA** than the Federal one. One should not have to risk being overpowered by an intruder in order to not be labelled "ignorant" or "sloppy" while one runs around unlocking the gun and fetching the ammo, kept separately.

** Article II, § 6 of the Constitution of New Mexico provides: “No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons."

Frankly, I'm just a little sick and tired of the onus always being on gun owners to be the whipping boys/girls for burglary, violence, and suicide in a state awash in poverty, poor educational standards, drug and alcohol abuse, high recidivism, judges who kick dangerous people back on the street, parent-less kids, and the cherry on the top being the esteemed editorial board lecturing people about being "ignorant" if someone's idea of storage ain't the same as Everytown's.

As anyone familiar with these pages knows, I have said over and over that people should practice safe storage and furthermore, if securing guns is important, the state should make gun safes and lock boxes not only tax free but subsidized, as long as the buyer signs an affidavit promising to actually use the safe/lockbox. I try to avoid insulting people when saying so. Also, the other day I suggested the local DA put the hammer down on kids who get their guns via straw purchase and turn the straw buyers over to the Feds for prosecution under Federal law.

And Victoria Traxler's story the other day? Did they talk to a local NRA or NMSSA affiliate? When your laughter subsides, you can answer that.

As far as your last paragraph? I don't recall the NRA saying guns should be sold to prohibited persons. And any group of citizens has the right to be represented by lobbying organizations. In fact, most recently, Everytown for Gun Safety far outspent the NRA. You know, that shill for Michael Bloomberg?

Mike Johnson

"Frankly, storage should depend on the situation." Well said Khal, that is the key to any law, regulation, policy, etc. But as well know, the left wing politicians always want these things to be one-size-fits-all, they are too sloppy and ignorant to know any better.

Khal Spencer

I will say, though, that Miranda and Pastor Ebert's justification for that study center, i.e., to look at ALL the underlying causes of violence (and more specifically, shootings) might be a good thing if the study results point to a more holistic way to reduce violence, i.e., also work seriously on the issues that cause people to pick up a gun as the Universal Antidote to what is bothering them. That could be a good thing. As I once noted when looking at a homicide map of New Mexico by county, it is not surprising that high rates map to areas with a lot of other problems.

Emily Koyama

The "ignorant" part of this article is the suggestion that laws should be passed that mandate gun owners should lock up guns and ammo separately. That defeats the purpose of having firearms for self defense. That is a clear case of infringement of 2A rights, and would, SHOULD be soundly defeated in the courts.

As for Khal, he has suggested biometric or combination gun safes as a reasonable compromise.

Where is your "compromise"?

Sounds like you are all for banning all fireams, except maybe a single shot black powder rifle? (also locked, unloaded, in a safe, of course).

And speaking of "triggering", every time there is an article about police officers, you jump on your soapbox and call them all murdering thugs. So, perhaps you could exercise a little restraint too.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Ms. Koyama, you've shared some powerful comments, yet, not Today. Mr. Spencer was clearly alluding to the application of the word "ignorant" in the fine editorial - not critiquing it.

Meanwhile, you assume I'm "...all for banning all firearms, except.....". Ms. Koyama, are you aware that there no Federal, State, nor Local "Government" agency nor organization that can an even close-to-accurate accounting for the number of firearms in "America"? Thus, how well would the "ban" that your so wrongly suggested that I support succeed? Be sure, a very lethal and dangerous Pandora's Box (of ammo?) was opened, long, long ago in this nation. Besides, I have many associates and family-members who are responsible gun owners - please don't make an A** of U and Me.

Finally, yes, I've long -very publicly- opposed inept, unfit and trigger-happy "Law Enforcement". Far too many Americans have been heartlessly executed. Still, some of my fellow commentators can confirm, I've also advocated higher-pay and better training for Law-Enforcement. Yet I get very angry, when unarmed 13-year-old boys are murdered by cowardly, Criminals-with-Guns-and-Badges. Don't you?

I've defended the U.S. Constitution since my 17th birthday (USAF), all of it. So, I certainly won't allow some greedy, self-serving industry shill to hide behind it, much less, pimp it out for their own gain.

Have a Nice Day, Ms. Koyama! Whether you like it or not!

Mike Johnson

Well said Khal, spot on! And I will add we experienced people of course know what the esteemed editorial board really means when they say "Emphasize prevention when tackling gun violence", they really mean seize all guns from all the people and repeal the 2nd Amendment, like a certain activist commenting here.......

Emily Koyama

Replying to Prince Michael above;

You say this is a "fine editorial".

I think 90% of it is BS. So on that we disagree.

No middle ground there, I guess.

As for your support of "All" of the Constitution... well, that cannot be, if you support the content of this "fine" editorial (see above).

As for your comments in the past about "criminals with guns", your comments are often lacking a caveat that those who misuse their power should be held to account (and on that I agree), rather, you paint with a broad brush (Just as Mr Mechels does.) You often do this (like Mechels) when the first story appears, before any investigations into the incident have occurred. That is not reasonable, or prudent.

And finally, I WILL have a nice day! And I will like it too!

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