Op-Ed: Richardson stands out as pro-gun Democrat

He applied for permit for concealed carry

By Meg Heckman

During his first term as New Mexico's governor, Bill Richardson backed legislation allowing residents to carry concealed weapons. When it became law in 2003, Richardson applied for a permit himself. Although he has said he seldom packs heat, the move was symbolic of a politician who has been largely supportive of gun owners' rights.

It also separates Richardson from the other Democrats running for president, who tend to favor more stringent regulation of firearms. Richardson's track record in Congress and in Santa Fe has earned him accolades from the National Rifle Association, which endorsed his reelection as governor last year. In September, he was the only Democratic presidential candidate to address a convention organized by the NRA to promote Second Amendment rights.

"This position doesn't always make me the most popular guy in the room with certain audiences," he said via telecast at the convention. "But the reality is that New Mexico has an age-old history of hunting, sportsmanship and other lawful shooting activities. It also has a proud history of defending the nation and its Constitution."

...The concept of a Democratic candidate with a concealed weapon permit makes for interesting conversation, especially if you're poking around Riley's Sport Shop in Hooksett. The crowd on Friday included gun owners of all stripes: Those who hunt, those who want to protect themselves, and those who carry out of philosophical allegiance to the Second Amendment.

Overall, the place exudes a Republican vibe. Signs include an "Anyone but Hillary" sticker on the side of the register and a giant Ron Paul banner out front. But spend a few minutes talking to staff and regulars and you'll discover that gun regulation is complex and often transcends party lines.

Click here to read the entire op-ed in the Concorde (NH) Monitor.

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