Gun Violence, Crime, Marijuana & Community Policing

“Pat knows that guns in the wrong hands wreak havoc on our community. He understands that we need to implement important background check reforms that ensure we keep our streets safe.” – Maggie Byers, New Mexico gun violence prevention advocate

My Commitment:

  • Co-Sponsor and help pass a federal law requiring background checks for every gun sale. No exceptions.
  • Restore the Obama-era rule requiring courts to alert the FBI when they adjudicate a felon, domestic violence offender or person with dangerous mental health diagnoses who should not be able to purchase a gun.
  • Protect the rights of responsible gun owners, like myself, who keep our guns away from children and respect our hunting laws.
  • Change federal policy on marijuana and cannabis to give states the freedom to create local policies that work best for them.

Returning to community policing

I was a police officer for almost a decade.  I have learned the best way to stem the tide of rising crime rates is to invest vigorously in community policing, treatment not incarceration for crimes motivated by addiction, and working to establish trust between our police force and our citizenry.

Congress can set the tone by prioritizing what we fund.

The Clinton-era community policing programs, like COPS, that hired community policing officers like me have been traded in for grants to help police departments buy military equipment instead of bicycles and train to deescalate crimes.

President Trump and Attorney General Sessions are working to stop DOJ from taking over police departments like Ferguson and Albuquerque where unconstitutional policing practices have led to abuses.  I’ll fight to keep those programs in place to ensure that every police department serves every person with equal justice under law.

Gun Violence Prevention

93 Americans are killed by guns every day.  In Congress, I’ll make preventing gun violence a top priority. New Mexico needs a representative in Congress who can stand up to the gun lobby and advocate for policies that help save lives, such as:

  • universal background checks for all gun purchases,
  • preventing people who are deemed too dangerous to fly in an airplane from being able to legally buy a gun,
  • restoring the rule requiring courts to notify the FBI’s background check system when they deem someone too dangerous to buy a gun,
  • fund federal grants to help local courts report convictions for prohibited persons, including those who commit domestic violence, to the FBI system,
  • lift prohibitions on federal funding of gun violence research so we get a true picture of the crisis.

I wear attacks on me by the NRA as a badge of honor and I will not back down on common-sense gun reforms that are proven to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.

Michelle Lujan Grisham has been a true champion for survivors and victims in Congress and I’ll continue to lead this fight.

In 2016, I was invited to represent New Mexico in Vice President Joe Biden’s White House Summit on gun violence prevention.

As a city councilor, I used my discretionary public safety funds to purchase a NIBENs system for APD, allowing them to conduct forensic tests on guns and shell casings from shootings in 1 day instead of having to ship them off for testing, as we had done before.  This technology helps us close cases and make arrests more quickly when gun violence hits our neighborhoods.

I’m proud to have the endorsement of New Mexico’s most vocal gun violence prevention advocates.  When we asked them why they support Pat, they simply said “because he’s been there.”

Marijuana & Cannabis

Local police officers and federal agents have better things to do, but Federal law still classifies Cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no medical or public use.  But science tells us differently and, in Congress, I’ll fight to change that and settle this debate between Federal and State Law once and for all.

New Mexico was one of the first to legalize the use of cannabis for medical use and it has helped tens-of-thousands of patients with conditions ranging from PTSD for veterans to cancer pain and seizures for children.

Thousands of New Mexicans work in this industry – one of our fastest growing and strongest – but new threats from Trump and AG Sessions to allow federal agents to target working families like these are real and we need champions in Congress to take on this issue.

Today, we see legalized and regulated cannabis as an opportunity for new stable revenue and opportunities for growth in our economy.  I support it.

In 2013, I ran the marijuana decriminalization campaigns in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, giving voters their first vote on marijuana policy ever in New Mexico.  We won overwhelmingly because moms spoke out against having their teenagers blocked from college Pell Grants or forever having to answer “yes” on a job application asking about arrests just for experimenting with marijuana.