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          Front Page


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.