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Proposed gun restrictions at the Roundhouse fail in Senate committee

SANTA FE, N.M. — A Senate panel has rejected a proposal to restrict firearms in the New Mexico Capitol.

The Rules Committee voted 4-2 Wednesday against a measure that would have banned firearms, except by law enforcement officers, in the Senate chambers, galleries and committee rooms.

A proposal to impose a similar ban in the House is pending.

Even if the restrictions were imposed, guns could be carried in certain parts of the Capitol including the rotunda.

Democratic Sen. Peter Wirth of Santa Fe said he proposed the restrictions after constituents told him they were afraid last year to attend legislative proceedings because gun rights supporters were openly carrying handguns and rifles in the Capitol.

A proposal failed last year to expand criminal background checks of people buying firearms at gun shows.