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Gun Restrictions Debated by Legislative Panel

New Mexico lawmakers are turning their attention to a proposal that will require criminal background checks of people buying firearms from private sellers, including at gun shows.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled Monday to consider the legislation by Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque.

Federal law requires background checks for sales by licensed dealers in stores or at gun shows. However, the law doesn’t cover firearm sales between private individuals, whether at a gun show or someone’s home.

Garcia contends that more background checks will prevent sales of guns to people prohibited from buying firearms, including individuals with a history of mental ill or those convicted of crimes.

The debate over the gun legislation comes a month after a Connecticut school shooting that claimed 26 lives.