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Governor: Keep Guns Out Of Hands of Mentally Ill

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N.M. and the gun issue

⋄  Gov. WANTS LEGISLATURE TO BOOST state’S tracking of MENTALLY ILL

Copyright © 2012 Albuquerque Journal By James Monteleone Journal Staff Writer

Gov. Susana Martinez said New Mexico should immediately consider legislation to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

“There are some individuals who should never have access to firearms, like criminals and the mentally ill,” the Republican governor said Monday in a prepared statement, responding to Journal questions about gun control.

“In reviewing our state statutes, I will pursue legislation this session to make clear that the state must accurately and promptly provide information on people who have been found mentally ill by a court, or who have been involuntarily committed to an institution,” the governor said.

Martinez is a former district attorney and a supporter of concealed firearms carry. As a prosecutor and governor, she often has expressed special concern about violence against children. The state’s next session of the Legislature convenes Jan. 15.

She said a push is needed to ensure national criminal databases have updated information regarding an individual’s mental health status that would be flagged in federal background checks before some gun sales.

Asked about the suddenly renewed political push to increase gun restrictions in the United States, Martinez emphasized the need to better recognize and battle mental health problems to curb gun violence.

Martinez did not address calls after the Newtown shooting to restrict access to assault weapons, such as the kind used in the Connecticut school shooting.

“As a prosecutor, I dedicated my life and career trying to protect children and keep them safe. We are still sorting out what happened on Friday, and families have only begun the grieving process,” Martinez said.

“We will be discussing many issues in the days ahead, including how best to protect our children by reviewing our safety protocols at schools,” the governor said.

Martinez expressed sympathy for victims of the Newtown shooting, including 20 first-grade children.

“I am saddened and shocked by the tragedy that took place in Newtown, Conn.,” Martinez said.

“So many of the innocent victims who lost their lives were children – an unspeakable horror for parents everywhere who send their kids to school and expect them to come home safely at the end of the day,” the governor said. “The children, families, teachers and community members who are impacted by this violence are in all of our thoughts and prayers.”
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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