Posted at: 02/08/2013 5:37 PM
Updated at: 02/08/2013 9:01 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Gun rights protesters - some of them armed - rallied at the State Capitol Friday.
Some of them came packing heat - assault-style weapons, rifles, handguns. It's legal in New Mexico to openly carry a loaded firearm, and a couple of the demonstrators assured KOB Eyewitness News 4 their weapons were loaded.
The keynote speaker at the event was Rep. Nora Espinoza - a Roswell Republican well known as a spitfire on gun rights issues.
"I am standing for our freedoms and I believe that if we do not unite, if we do not unite and protect our freedom, the 2nd Amendment, our rights - we are going to lose them," she said.
Espinoza's own bill that would have made it illegal for anybody to try to enforce federal firearms laws in New Mexico got shot down early in the session - a defeat for the gun rights crowd. But on the other side, a gun control bill calling for background checks and registration has been watered down and weakened, and a proposed assault-style weapon ban is almost certainly dead on arrival.
The crowd had quite a few younger people in it than usually seen at these gun rights rallies - something the organizers noticed right away.
"We need that young blood," said Bob Wright of Eunice. "We need those young people to push us. We need their impatience because we've been far too patient. We need their impetuosity because we've been far too complacent."
The crowd numbered about 100 - a good turnout on a windy, freezing Friday lunch hour.