The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) today applauded New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for signing legislation that expands his state’s concealed carry law, allowing more citizens to legally arm themselves for personal protection.

“Not only did Gov. Richardson’s signature extend the valid term of a concealed pistol license to four years,” said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “but he also lowered the minimum age for obtaining a license to 21 years, and in the process, he recognized the new law as a crime-reduction measure.

“Gov. Richardson’s support for concealed carry in New Mexico is well-documented,” Waldron noted, “in that he was instrumental in getting the original law through the Legislature two years ago. Now he’s signed common-sense reform legislation that expands this law, with the understanding that it will deter criminals and empowers more New Mexico citizens to protect themselves.”

House Bill 641 garnered strong bipartisan support. Sponsored by state Rep. John Heaton (D-Eddy), the new law includes a reciprocity provision.

“This new law truly is a reform measure,” Waldron observed. “It recognizes that young adults have just as much right to self-defense as older citizens, and that 21-year-olds in New Mexico are just as responsible as 21-year-olds in other states who are already legally-licensed to carry. If they are old enough to carry a firearm to defend this nation, they’re certainly old enough to carry a firearm to defend themselves.

“We would hope that governors in a few other states, namely Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois and Kansas, will take a lesson from Gov. Richardson,” Waldron stated. “Personal protection is not a right that stops at a state’s borders, nor is it any less important for people in the upper Midwest than it is in the Southwest.”