Town hall meeting on gun ownership is Tuesday

February 9, 2013 • Local News

Confused by New Mexico gun laws? SOY Mariachi will host a Town Hall Meeting at the Roswell Adult and Center, 807 N. M[auth] issouri Ave., Tuesday, from 6 to 8 p.m., to help citizens to help citizens sort through the morass of issues pertaining to responsible gun ownership.

The meeting is being sponsored by the Roswell Police Department, the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, Bobby Villegas Insurance and New Mexico Firearms Training Associates, LLC.

Villegas said the purpose of the meeting is to clarify current rules and regulations about conceal-carry laws. While the speakers will be willing to field questions and discuss upcoming regulations, this not the intent of the meeting. “We have 23 executive orders before congress now, but there has been no vote. We can not predict what the final regulations will be.”

Adam Villegas of NMFTA is one of the featured speakers. His firm conducts conceal-carry and gun training classes in Roswell. “We don’t plan to be talking about the potential regulations about assault weapons,” he said. “People are saying: ‘Don’t take my guns away.’ Everyone seems afraid of something that hasn’t happened yet.”

Adam hopes to dispel some of the myths about New Mexico’s current gun laws. He cited as an example the fact that New Mexico is an open-carry state. Some people have interpreted this to mean that as long as the gun is exposed, for example on a belt holster, they are allowed to go anywhere. “There are limitations,” Adam said.

Some may be aware that open-carry does not permit people to take a firearm into any establishment that sells liquor, such as liquor stores. However, this prohibition includes not only liquor stores and the local watering holes, but also grocery stores and convenience stores, anywhere that alcohol may be sold. “It’s a fourth degree felony if you do,” he said.

Fourth-degree felonies can carry a sentence up 18 months in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

Those with conceal-carry permits, though, are exempt and may carry a concealed weapon because, according to Adam: “The government holds people with the conceal carry permit to a higher standard.”

Another issue to be addressed is guns in the home. “Someone said that Obama has done more to boost gun sales than anyone else. Many people want to get a gun for protection. We want to ask the question is it really safe?” said Bobby. He noted that more people with guns in their homes die as a result of crimes than those who do not own guns simply because they don’t know how to use them.

Adam said they will present people with other alternatives for defense than guns which could possibly be used against them. He listed fire extinguishers, bats and even pillows as examples.

The Roswell Police Department’s Commander Levi Moody will discuss conceal carry classes, firearm safety and the police perspective. Safety issues to be covered include: safe storage, safe use, reservation law and gun-laws nationwide, such as reciprocity states.

Romo Villegas will be available to discuss insurance as it pertains to gun ownership. Bobby said that someone will also be on hand to translate from English to Spanish.

For more information, contact NMFTA at (575) 312-1672, (575) 312-1306 or Villegas Insurance Agency (575) 625-2886.

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