Lawmakers table assault weapons ban measure

Posted at: 02/21/2013 10:38 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A proposed ban on assault-style weapons and large ammunition magazines had a committee fired up in Santa Fe late into the night Thursday.

Gun supporters and those in favor of a ban waited hours and crowded into long lines for the hearing at the Roundhouse.

The controversial bill was a longshot to begin with and after 2.5 hours of both sides making their case, the House Consumer Affairs Committee tabled the proposed ban in a 3-to-2 vote.

In addition to assault-style weapons, the tough piece of legislation would have outlawed magazines that hold more than ten rounds.

Committee Chair Eliseo Lee Alcon was the swing vote and made it clear, "now is not the time for New Mexico to take aim at gun control."

Democrat Steve Easely of Santa Fe sponsored the bill.

"The chairman stated his reasons, he thinks this is probably premature relative to the federal level," Easely said. "He and I disagree on that because we don't know what's going to happen at the federal level and how that will come out, so I believe we need to take action here."

Detective Steve Chavez, of Cibola County, attended the hearing and said he was happy the bill was tabled.

"As a cop, my concern honestly, is that citizens will see this as an infringement and they will fight they will fight me, my people, as we're going and having to enforce," he said.

The push for state gun control may be done for now, but Easely said, his fight for change is far from over - there is always next year.