*Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include the latest debate over the bill.

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A bill that would prohibit people from carrying firearms at polling places is continuing to make its way through the Roundhouse. Senate Bill 44 would ban people from having a firearm within 100 feet of a polling location on Election Day or during early voting.

If the bill becomes law, people who do not comply could be charged with a petty misdemeanor which carries up to a six-month prison sentence and a maximum fine of $500.

Monday, February 27, legislators in the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee debated the bill. Some legislators expressed concern that polling places might not be safe from bad actors if guns were banned. Rep. Martin R. Zamora (R-Curry, DeBaca, Guadalupe, Roosevelt & San Miguel) noted that there is the possibility for active shooters at polling places.

“We live in a society and in an environment where we have these things going on,” he told the committee. “And as long as we have active shootings . . . and gun-free zones . . .those people are going to go there.”

With such concerns in mind, all three Republicans on the committee voted against the bill. But despite such concerns, the Democratic legislators, which have the majority, voted to move the bill forward.

If the bill continues to progress towards law, it’s important to remember that this bill would not apply to peace officers or to security personnel while carrying out their official duties. So, police officers, as long as they have authorization from the local government, can help guard polling locations.