- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico penalties would increase for illegal firearms possession among people previously convicted of a violent felony under a bill approved by the state House of Representatives.

The House voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Nate Gentry of Albuquerque. It would increase the penalty to three years in jail from 18 months. The measure now moves to the Senate.

The Law Office of the Public Defender warns the proposed law eventually could be challenged based on the prior felony being used twice to enhance a sentence.

The New Mexico lawmakers also are considering proposals to expand background checks on nearly all commercial firearms transactions and to restrict access to guns temporarily in domestic violence situations.

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