SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A prominent lobbying group to the firearms industry has endorsed Republican candidate Mark Ronchetti for U.S. Senate in New Mexico.
Ronchetti announced the National Rifle Association’s endorsement on Thursday in a tweet. The former television meteorologist is running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján to succeed Sen. Tom Udall, who is retiring.
Ronchetti campaign spokesman Jeff Glassburner said the first-time political candidate is a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights and also supports instant background checks.
Luján says he favors comprehensive gun safety laws that get “weapons of war off the street” and improve community safety.
He voted in favor of a House bill in February 2019 to expand background checks nationwide to most private and online gun sales. That measure hat has been shunned by the Republican controlled Senate and President Trump.
Amid stalemates in Washington, New Mexico’s Democrat-controlled Legislature has adopted a series of gun control laws since 2019 that expand background checks, restrict gun access through judicial proceedings on domestic violence and allow court orders to seize firearms from people who present a danger to themselves or others.
The state’s red flag law was embraced by legislators this year in response to the Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting at a Walmart in nearby El Paso, Texas, that killed 23.