March 21, 2003
Concealed-Handgun Bill Sent to Governor
The Associated Press
SANTA FE New Mexicans could legally carry loaded handguns in their pockets or purses under a bill lawmakers sent Gov. Bill Richardson on Friday.
The governor says he intends to sign the measure.
The Senate took the final action on the bill, agreeing on a voice vote to go along with changes the House had made to the legislation.
"We can live with these. It creates a workable act," said Sen. Shannon Robinson, D-Albuquerque, the bill's sponsor and a longtime proponent of concealed carry.
Among the House changes: restricting the concealed handgun licenses to those 25 and over.
Under the proposal, eligible New Mexicans could get two-year licenses to carry handguns of a specific calibers after paying $100 application fees, completing approved firearms training courses and passing criminal background checks.
Under current law, New Mexicans can legally carry loaded guns if they're in plain view with some exceptions and concealed guns if they're unloaded. It's also legal to have a loaded gun in a vehicle.
But carrying a concealed, loaded handgun is a petty misdemeanor, punishable by six months in jail and a $500 fine.
Two years ago, the Legislature passed a concealed-carry bill that was signed by then-Gov. Gary Johnson.
But the state Supreme Court invalidated it last year because it contained a provision that allowed cities and counties to opt out and ban concealed weapons. The court said that violated a prohibition in the constitution against cities and counties regulating guns.