SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s been a barrage of bills dealing with potential gun legislation in the 2023 New Mexico Legislative Session. Most of them look at limiting access to them. However, one new bill will allow anyone over the age of 18 to carry a concealed gun without needing a permit.

Five Republican lawmakers want to make it easier for New Mexicans to carry their guns. One sponsor of the bill tells News 13 this is a common-sense measure.

“Violent criminals, they already don’t follow laws. So, this would just further protect law-abiding citizens. To allow them to have the autonomy to own a gun whether they prefer to have a permit or not. And that would help them to stop bad criminals in their different areas that they live in the state from being able to target them,” says Representative John Block (R-Otero County), lead sponsor on this bill.

House Bill 164 provides for the permitless carrying of firearms by adults 18 or over as long as it’s not prohibited by state or federal law or by court order. Block says his constituents tell him the need for a permit for concealed carry is a hassle, and this will help people protect themselves more easily. Block also says this doesn’t do away with the permitting process; it just gives people the option not to get a permit. The bill also changes the definition of carrying a deadly weapon to exclude firearms.

“It is a hassle and I also think that most of us are not the most confident in our government and all the different procedures that we already have right now. So pretty much it’s to make sure that people have autonomy as to whether they want to carry a firearm or not,” Block says.

“This would be like any other state, like Vermont or Maine, that already have certain laws just like this and they are Democrat-ruled states. So, this would be a very common-sense bill that we could get Democrats on board with,” Block says.

Democrats have filed a number of bills that would restrict gun purchases, including House Bill 100 which institutes a 14-day waiting period, and Senate Bill 116 which seeks to make the legal gun-buying age 21.

Representative Block says he hopes this bill creates lively debate and he hopes to win bipartisan support. “I’m sure there will be some opposition from certain dark money groups that hate guns. But as Americans, we need to protect our Second Amendment and we need to protect our families and this is exactly what that accomplishes,” Block says.