Santa Fe veterinarian Stuart McCall, the father of 2- and 12-year-old daughters, is among the hundreds of New Mexicans trying to take advantage of a new law that allows carrying concealed handguns, reports the New Mexican. So many have applied for permits to the state Department of Public Safety that the process is backlogged by several months while the agency does background checks. Some Santa Fe businesses have posted signs to invoke their right to a gun-free environment; others aren’t worried by the idea of people with hidden guns.
McCall, 44, says it’s not that he feels endangered or that he wants to prevent crime — two arguments presented by legislators who worked to pass the law. He wants to have the license because he can. “It’s my right and privilege,” McCall said. “I don’t want any encounters with bad guys.”
More than 1,200 New Mexicans have applied. The typical license holder is a male between 50 and 54. About 10 percent of the permits are going to women, mostly between age 45 and 65. Some 351 licenses have been issued so far.
The law imposes several requirements. Applicants must be state residents, older than 25, with no felony, domestic-violence, drunken-driving, or controlled-substance convictions and no history of commitment to a mental institution.
When Beth Gosse gets her permit, she plans to carry a gun almost everywhere she goes. A single woman who often works alone, Gosse feels she should protect herself with weapons. The 45-year-old conducts background investigations of Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and wants an added level of security when she has to visit people’s homes.