New Mexico’s colorful Wild West history includes epic battles and gunfights. For example, the shooting of Billy the Kid by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner in 1881 and the 33-hour standoff in 1884 in which Deputy Sheriff Elfego Baca bested several dozen cowboys in what is now Reserve.
Today, in many parts of this rural state, strapping on a sidearm or having a gun rack in your pickup is commonplace. New Mexico is a concealed carry state, where about 61,000 people have the licenses, including Gov. Susana Martinez.
When gun control comes up in the Legislature, some residents bring their long rifles and sidearms to hearings inside the Roundhouse. Nothing like a visual aid to make a point. New Mexico is just one of three states that allows people to openly carry weapons into legislative sessions.
Gun ownership has been and still is a way of life in New Mexico. But a Journal story by investigative reporter Colleen Heild last Monday laid out a startling picture of what that can mean.