New Mexico Democrat Pushing Ban on ‘Assault Pistols’

William P. Soules

New Mexico state Senator William P. Soules (D) is pushing legislation to ban handguns he describes as “assault pistols.”

The legislation, SB 171, was introduced on January 23, 2023, and contains a ban on handguns that meet Soules’ “assault pistols” threshold.

He defines an “assault pistol” as “a semiautomatic pistol that accepts a detachable magazine” and also has two of six other characteristics.

The six additional characteristics are:

  1. An ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside the pistol grip;
  2. A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward hand grip or silencer;
  3. A shroud that is attached to or partially or completely encircles the barrel and permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the second hand without being burned;
  4. Manufactured weight of fifty ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded;
  5. A centerfire pistol with an overall length of twelve inches or more; or
  6. A semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.

Soules’ ban also targets “automatic firearms; rifles with barrel lengths less than sixteen inches; shotguns with barrel lengths less than eighteen inches,” and suppressors, among other things.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. AWR Hawkins holds a PhD in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at


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