Law OKs guns in eateries

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Concealed carry license holders can take guns into some liquor-serving restaurants

By Barry Massey

SANTA FE — People licensed for concealed handguns can take their weapons into New Mexico restaurants serving beer and wine under a new state law.

Gov. Bill Richardson signed legislation into law on Wednesday. It takes effect in July.

However, restaurants can stop people from bringing their handguns into an eatery by posting a sign that prohibits firearms or if the restaurant’s owner or manager tells a patron that firearms aren’t allowed.

Even with the change in law, it will remain illegal to take a concealed weapon into a bar or a restaurant with a full liquor license — places that serve whiskey and other liquor besides wine and beer.

New Mexico becomes the 41st state to allow the carrying of concealed handguns into at least some restaurants that serve alcohol, according to the National Rifle Association. Only Wisconsin, Illinois and the District of Columbia completely prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns.

The Legislature approved the handgun measure during a 30-day session, which ended last month.

“This is a victory for self-defense rights and for law-abiding residents in New Mexico,” Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, said in a statement.

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