Updated: 09/26/2013 9:03 AM |
Created: 09/25/2013 10:10 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
A YouTube video of a man carrying a loaded rifle into the New Mexico Capitol is getting plenty of attention online. Not because he did anything wrong, but because he was making a point about his rights.
And his message certainly got state lawmakers' attention.
"I'm gonna go inside the state Capitol and see if I can educate a few people," the man says in the video, only identified by his YouTube account name of "martinrps13."
He walked into the east entrance lobby of the Capitol with an AR 15 rifle strapped across his chest, a handgun and a camera. The man walked right up to the security desk and told guards what he was doing.
"Is that thing loaded?" a security guard asked.
"I believe in if I carry a firearm, I carry it loaded," the man responded.
The man brought a copy of the New Mexico Constitution and read aloud his rights to the guards. While guns are banned from schools, banks and bars, they're not specifically forbidden at the New Mexico Capitol.
"People need to be comfortable because it's our constitutional right to carry a firearm, and it's my New Mexico constitutional right to carry it openly in the state Capitol," the man said.
Two state police officers arrived and spoke with the man, but in the end, he was allowed to tour the building with his gun—accompanied by police and security.
"Generally speaking, if someone brings in a long gun, we will call law enforcement. And ask them to come over and talk to the person," John Yaeger with the Legislative Council Service said.
A handgun in a holster, not a problem, but the gun guy's visit had lawmakers in both parties thinking about changing the rules.
"I'm a strong supporter of the second amendment. And I'm also a member of the NRA, but I tell you there's many buildings that you should not be able to carry a firearm into and one of them is the state Capitol," Republican Sen. Carroll Leavell said.
"Unquestionably, I think we need to ban guns from the state Capitol, and anywhere there's large numbers of individuals that gather for a very specific purpose," Democratic Sen. Carlos Cisneros said.
A bill to ban guns in the Roundhouse was actually introduced in the last legislative session, but it didn't go anywhere. Bills expanding background checks for gun sales and banning assault-style weapons also failed.
Gun control bills were some of the most hotly contested issues of the session, leading to jam-packed meeting rooms. A majority of New Mexico's sheriffs even went to the state Capitol to say they would not enforce a ban on assault style-weapons.
"I have got to say, that was an extremely amazing and educational time," the man in the YouTube video said.
Watch the man's full video below. On a mobile device? Click here.