Actor Val Kilmer has been slammed for his comments about the American state of New Mexico by a local senator.

Kilmer, who has a ranch in the mountains south of Pecos, was asked about living in rural New Mexico in an interview published in a recent edition of ROLLING STONE.

The screen star told the magazine he carries a gun in his car and justified it by explaining, "I live in the homicide capital of the south-west. Eighty per cent of the people in my county are drunk. So driving home on the highway, especially with kids, it's (carrying a gun) just a precaution."

The BATMAN FOREVER star was also asked how he spends his time. After talking about feeding the animals and going to the watering hole, he put on a country accent and said, "We shoot the automatic weapons at the trespassers and people a different colour than us."

State senator PHIL GRIEGO, whose district includes Kilmer's ranch and who lives nearby, says that if the actor doesn't like San Miguel County he's welcome to leave.

He blasts, "He's shooting from the hip and he's espousing stuff he really doesn't know anything about."

The lawmaker says the actor lives behind a gate and doesn't know his community.

JOHN HENDRY of the state tourism department insists Kilmer actually loves New Mexico and its people, adding, "I don't believe for a minute he meant any of it. I know him and I have a feeling that you had to be there to understand how Kilmer intended it."

06/10/2003 08:59