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New Mexico Court Upholds Key Constitutional Provision <br>On The Right To Keep And Bear Arms

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

FAIRFAX, VA-- The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that allowing localities to deny state Right-to-Carry permits is a violation of the state Constitution and the right to keep and bear arms. Attorneys for the National Rifle Association successfully argued this fact in written briefs submitted to the Court, supporting NRA`s position that the preemption clause of the constitution is of paramount importance and that any Right-to-Carry law should be uniform and consistent statewide.

"We applaud the Court for upholding the preemption clause of the state Constitution and ruling that every law-abiding citizen in New Mexico should be afforded the right to self-protection, regardless of what city they live in," said Chris Cox, NRA`s Chief Lobbyist. "Now opponents of Right-To-Carry will be forced to show their true colors. Next session, they will not be able to hide behind a Right-to-Carry bill with a poison-pill, local option provision attached to it."

Although the Court found the "local option" provision unseverable from the rest of the law in their decision to throw it out, they chose not to rule on the overall issue of whether a Right-to-Carry law in New Mexico is constitutional, leaving the door open for the legislature to take appropriate action by passing a law without an opt-out clause.

Senator Shannon Robinson (D-Albuquerque), a sponsor of the bill and attorney representing intervenors in the case, stated, "I believe the Court has given us (the legislature) the green light to go ahead and pass a clean bill next session. We believe we have the support for it, and our resolve to see this through to the end is stronger than ever."

Cox concurred, stating, "The legislature now has the opportunity to pass a bill that will prohibit local interference with the rights of law-abiding gun owners. NRA supports a uniform, statewide Right-to-Carry permit system that does not allow localities to disenfranchise permit holders based on where they work, where they live or where they travel."

The 131 year-old NRA is the nation`s oldest civil rights group, and advocates enforcement of existing laws to prosecute and punish violent criminals. The NRA is the nation`s leader in teaching gun safety and promotes marksmanship among law enforcement officers nationwide. The Association has over 4 million members across America.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.