After mass shootings, gun law debate heats up

New Mexico U.S. Senator who is a gun owner and hunter weighs in on debate

By:  Nancy Laflin

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The debate over guns is one that is very divisive, and one that many people are passionate about.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich says he is a hunter and believes in protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners.

He also believes there should be changes in gun laws. 

"Every shotgun I have has a plug in it so that I can't shoot more than a few times at waterfowl, yet that kind of limitation does not apply to most of the firearms that are designed to be aimed at people," Heinrich said. 

He is also a believer in universal background checks. 

"Every gun I've ever owned, except a few I've inherited from my family, I went through a background check. It took five minutes. It took 10 minutes," said Heinrich, a Democrat.

The House passed two pieces of gun legislation, including one that would require background checks for every gun sale.

They're now sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's desk. 

Right now the Senate is in recess until September, but could be called back for a vote. 

"I'll get on a plane in a heartbeat if Sen. McConnell is willing to put any bill on the floor to address this issue," Heinrich said. 

Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, said he too would vote for similar legislation if it comes up in the Senate.