Hundreds gather for gun bill debate

Posted at: 01/28/2013 4:40 PM
Updated at: 01/28/2013 6:16 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The debate over the first big gun control bill of the legislative session drew hundreds of New Mexicans to the State Capitol Monday afternoon.

People jammed the hallways of the third floor, where a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee was scheduled in a modest-sized committee room. The crowd was too big for the room, so the hearing had to be moved to the House of Representatives chamber to seat the spectators and those wishing to testify.

"It's not good to disarm the public," said Kerry Adams, who stood in a place near the very front of the line at the committee room door. "There's no reason to punish those of us who are law abiding and follow the rules and don't use guns for bad things."

"I think everyone should go through a background check." said Paul Schmitt, who stood near Adams in the line. "Unfortunately, there are people out there who really shouldn't have a gun. They're irresponsible. They're incapable of using a gun properly."

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Miguel Garcia, a democrat from Albuquerque's South Valley, argues that the background checks would prevent gun sales to people with a history of mental illness or a record of criminal convictions.