Rep wants statewide assault weapons ban

SANTA FE (KRQE) — A Santa Fe lawmaker has introduced a bill calling for a statewide ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

HB 402, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Easley, D-Santa Fe, would prevent anyone, with a few exceptions, from buying or possessing many different types of semi-automatic weapons and magazines that can hold ten or more bullets.

The bill would exempt anyone who owns either an assault weapon or high capacity magazine by July 2013, police officers, active or reserve military and gun stores that have firing ranges. It would also exempt antiques.

Any assault weapon being transported would have to be unloaded, not connected with a magazine and with a trigger lock in place.

Easley says his proposal respects a person's constitutional right to keep weapons for self defense while trying to cut down on gun violence.

Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell says HB 402 is a very bad bill for a number of reasons. One of her main problems is that it could be tough to prove you owned the weapon in time in certain cases.

"If a granddad gave it to a granddaughter, how is the granddaughter going to prove that [the weapon] was in the granddad's possession prior to [the ban taking effect]," Ezzell said.

President Barack Obama has pushed for an assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban on the federal level.

Easley says he'd prefer a "50-state solution", but doesn't want to wait for Congress to act.

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