By Kevin Wilson
CNJ STAFF WRITER
Following an impassioned plea by the Clovis Lions Club and various gun enthusiasts, the Clovis City Commission approved a resolution seeking to squash a proposed bill that would affect firearm sales at gun shows.
By an 8-0 vote, the commission approved a resolution opposing House Bill 44, and any legislation that would place additional rules, restrictions and regulations on gun shows.
Joe Whitehurst, president of the Clovis Lions Club, said the club does a pair of annual gun shows that are popular and provide the club with about $40,000 to do its many charitable endeavors.
“We do everything we can; we’re here to help the community,” Whitehurst said. “We need your support in squashing this bill.”
The resolution’s main argument was that any restrictions placed on gun shows within the state would especially affect the Clovis Lions gun shows, since eight miles to the east lies Texas and municipalities that wouldn’t have to deal with the same regulations.
The Firearm Transfer Act, introduced by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Bernalillo, would require, “a prospective recipient of a firearm at a gun show to undergo a background check by a federal firearms licensee; allowing a reasonable fee for services.”
Steve Aikens of Clovis said the bill would be a burden to many citizens who might not have time for a background check to go through before a one- or two-day gun show concludes and the vendor leaves town. He said when he buys guns from licensed dealers, he already deals with lengthy waiting periods because somebody with his name in another state is a felon and he deals with clearing the matter up every time.
“This bill is so fraught with problems,” Aikens said, “it’s unbelievable.”
Whitehurst said the gun show is popular, with 120 tables already sold for the next one.
With the $40,000 the club sees, Whitehurst says, much is invested in projects such as the new waterfall at the Hillcrest Park Zoo entrance, scholarships for five Clovis Community College students and a new dictionary for every third-grader in Clovis, Texico, Melrose and Fort Sumner.
“Any money we make,” Whitehurst said, “we give back.”
Nobody spoke in opposition to the resolution, and Commissioner Randy Crowder asked all willing commissioners to sign it personally before it went on to local legislators.