ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said the state should consider taking steps to prevent mentally ill people from getting guns.
The governor tells The Albuquerque Journal in a statement that she will pursue a proposal during the legislative session next year that would require the state to provide information on people who have been found by a court to be mentally ill or have been committed to an institution.
Martinez responded to questions posed by the newspaper about gun control after last week's Connecticut school shooting that left 20 young students and six adults dead. The gunman also killed his mother and himself.
Asked about the suddenly renewed political push to increase gun restrictions in the United States, Martinez emphasized the need to better recognize and battle mental health problems to curb gun violence.
The New Mexico governor said a push is needed to ensure national criminal databases have updated information on an individual's mental health status that would be flagged in federal background checks before some gun sales.
Criminals and mentally ill people should never have access to guns, she said.
The state's next session of the Legislature convenes Jan. 15.
Martinez said state officials will have discussions about protecting school children by reviewing safety policies at schools,
The governor expressed sympathy for victims of the mass shooting
"So many of the innocent victims who lost their lives were children — an unspeakable horror for parents everywhere who send their kids to school and expect them to come home safely at the end of the day," the governor said. "The children, families, teachers and community members who are impacted by this violence are in all of our thoughts and prayers."
Martinez is a former district attorney and has had a concealed handgun permit. As a prosecutor and governor, she often has expressed special concern about violence against children.