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A recent headline at The Gun Feed caught my eye.

NM bill would allow firearms instructors to be charged with a felony if student later commits a crime…

A bill sponsored by Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Bernalillo) proposes changes to the state’s definitions of what “domestic terrorism” is. A concerning section of the legislation appears to say any firearms teacher may be charged with a third-degree felony if someone they taught may at any time use the weapon for the bill’s definition of “terrorism.”

Not quite. House Bill 70 says something a little different than how that article characterized it.

A. Any person who teaches or demonstrates the use, application or making of any firearm, destructive device or technique capable of causing injury or death to any person with the intent that the knowledge or skill taught, demonstrated or gained be unlawfully used to commit terrorism as defined in Subsection C of this section in furtherance of a civil disorder is guilty of a [fourth] third degree felony

Intent matters. Mens rea and all that. An instructor who had a student in a regular class, who turns out to be a bad guy later, obviously didn’t have intent to aid a criminal.

On the other hand, if someone called an instructor and said, “Good day. I’m the commander of The Lujan Grisham Must Hang Militia, and I’d like to book you for a weekend of tactical training for our organization,” and then they attack the Governor, the instructor might share some liability.

But then, he’d probably be liable even without this particular bill simply as an accessory to the crime. That’s because all this bill would really do is boost the penalty from a fourth degree felony to a third degree felony.

Of more significance is that this bill defines, at the state level, terrorism as a specific crime. It largely matches existing federal definitions.

The most important new provision is this:

C. act as liaison between federal, state and local agencies to effect the improved sharing of counterterrorism intelligence, including maintaining the New Mexico all source intelligence center, which is a cross-jurisdictional partnership between local, state and federal agencies to support the development of plans, policies and procedures that protect the state from border, criminal and terrorist threats;

Yet another interjurisdictional task force to surveil the populace. I’m sure some like Governor Lujan Grisham would never abuse that.

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