Gun control groups rally at Roundhouse

SANTA FE (KRQE) – At the beginning of her State of the State speech Tuesday, Gov. Susana Martinez honored staff at Berrendo Middle School who helped stop the school shooting in Roswell from being worse.

On Wednesday, protesters outside the Roundhouse invoked Roswell in a different way.

“For the families of the victims, thoughts and prayers are not enough!” read one of the signs carried by a gun rally member.

That rally, attended by a little more than 100 people, was meant to push HB 44. The bill would require a background check to purchase a gun at a gun show and would strengthen the mental health reporting the state sends in to the federal database used for those checks.

Last session, Gov. Martinez said she’d sign the same proposal if it made it to her desk. That bill cleared the House on a bipartisan vote but died without a vote in the Senate.

In order for the bill to even be heard this year, the governor would have to put it on her legislative agenda.

Gun control wasn’t mentioned in her State of the State and a Martinez spokesperson tells News 13 in an email that she hasn’t made up her mind about having the bill heard this session.

Protesters tried to apply some pressure Wednesday. After their rally, demonstrators went up to the governor’s office to drop off thousands of petition signatures asking her to take action.

“After the horrific tragedy that happened in Roswell, it really should show the governor that gun violence prevention is something that needs to be addressed in this state,” said Miranda Viscoli with New Mexicans for Gun Safety.

Some Republicans say there isn’t enough time to take up the controversial issue this session and that HB 44 is taking the wrong approach to stopping gun violence.

“I don’t think our constitutional right to bear arms should be trampled on to do that,” said Rep. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso. “I think there’s some other issues we’ve got to take a serious hard look at.”

There were other proposals introduced last session dealing with gun issues. One would allow some school employees to carry concealed weapons on campus and the other would’ve banned assault weapons in the state. It’s unclear if those ideas will come up again.

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