On Wednesday, February 12, the New Mexico State Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 23, NRA-backed Right to Carry legislation, sponsored by Senator Shannon Robinson (D-Albuquerque.) This bill resolves the constitutional problems that led the New Mexico Supreme Court to throw out the state`s old Right to Carry law (see below).
The hearing will be held at 2:30 p.m. in Room 321 of the State Capitol in Santa Fe. Please make plans to attend. Please call the following key committee members and urge them to support SB 23 and law-abiding citizens` right to protect themselves responsibly. You can also reach them by clicking the "Write Your Legislators" icon at the bottom of this page.
Key Senate Judiciary Committee Members:
District 29 -- Senator Michael Sanchez (505) 986-4487
District 10 -- Senator Ramsay Gorham (505) 986-4369
District 7 -- Senator Clinton Harden (505) 986-4260
District 9 -- Senator Steve Komadina (505) 986-4377
District 5 -- Senator Richard Martinez (505) 986-4389
District 20 -- Senator Bill Payne (505) 986-4276
District 4 -- Senator Lidio Rainaldi (505) 986-4310
Summary of SB 23 (Right To Carry)
Senate Bill 23 closely resembles the House-passed version of Right to Carry which passed in 2001 (then-HB 277; available at www.state.nm.us) minus the unconstitutional local option provision. Other proposed changes from what passed in 2001 are outlined below:
Extending the period for which a concealed handgun license is valid from one to four years. Requiring license holders to re-apply for a license every year, and for DPS to process such applications annually, creates an overwhelming bureaucratic burden on the system and will ultimately discourage people from obtaining licenses. Most states have established a term of validity for licenses ranging from 3-5 years.
Removing the requirement that applicants train and be licensed for the specific caliber of handgun they carry. Applicants will still be required to complete action-specific training (semi-automatic vs. revolver). But caliber-specific training is burdensome for both experienced applicants (who may own a range of caliber of handguns) or novice applicants (who will want the advice and experience of their instructor to determine what caliber is best to carry for their particular self-defense needs and comfort-level.)
Establish time-limit on DUI disqualifier for obtaining a license. The bill currently prohibits anyone ever convicted of a DUI offense from being able to obtain a license. We feel a more appropriate disqualifier would be a DUI conviction within the five years immediately preceding application for a license to carry.
Addition of language to recognize valid out-of-state licenses from contiguous states, when the license holder travels through New Mexico. Neighboring states such as Arizona and Texas, for example, have laws very similar to proposed legislation here in New Mexico, and both states are considering legislation to streamline their reciprocity clauses so that New Mexico licenses will be recognized in those states.
Addition of severability clause.