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New security measures adopted for legislative session

SANTA FE — Legislative leaders want you to leave your rifle at home, at least on opening day.

They adopted new rules Friday beefing up security ahead of the 60-day legislative session that starts next month.

One of the new measures is a ban on openly carrying weapons on the first day of the session — when the governor delivers a State of the State address before a joint meeting of the House and Senate.

People with a license to carry concealed weapons can still bring them. But firearms will be banned for everyone else that day.

During the rest of the session, people are free to show up with their guns. Indeed, firearms aren’t rare inside the Roundhouse — especially during debates over gun restrictions, when audience members often openly carry firearms as a symbol of freedom.

There will be other new security measures, too. Visitors on the first day of the session will be subject to bag searches and bans on large signs. Normally, people can just walk in without stopping for a bag check.

Throughout the next session, State Police will also be stationed in the gallery or chamber whenever the full House or Senate is meeting. That’s not a big change, however, as police officers are typically present in the building almost around the clock.

House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said the security changes are intended to help keep the public safe, not the result of any specific threat.

It’s routine for the Legislature to review security procedures ahead of a session.

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