new mexico

Senate bill would allow one armed employee at each N.M. school

by Robert Nott, The New Mexican  |  published on February 2, 2013

As the nation debates measures to keep schools safer from violence, a Republican state senator has introduced a bill allowing New Mexico school employees to carry concealed weapons on school property.

Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park, introduced Senate Bill 230, which would allow each school in the state to designate one employee to carry a concealed weapon. If enacted, the bill wouldn’t mandate but rather would enable school leaders to make a decision to arm an employee, Beffort said.

“If this bill were to pass, it would be an extremely serious decision that schools could not take lightly,” Beffort said by phone Wednesday afternoon. “The issue is to stop a tragedy before it may happen. We hope it would never be necessary.”

Beffort said armed school employees would have to seek annual updates on their concealed-carry permits. The permits now require four-year renewals. Under current state law, people licensed to carry concealed weapons may only carry one gun and can’t take it on school or university property, into court buildings or on public buses, among other restricted sites. Applicants must undergo firearms training and a background check before they receive a concealed-carry permit.

Though Beffort’s bill calls for each school to allow one armed employee, the senator said she may add an amendment allowing schools to have more than one armed employee on site.

So far, she said, she hasn’t heard any overwhelming support or criticism of the bill, though she said that is likely to change once the bill gets a hearing. It’s slated to go before the Senate Education Committee first.

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