A federal judge has blocked part of a public health order that suspended the right to carry guns in public in New Mexico’s largest metro area, as criticism of the governor’s actions grew. and political divisions had increased.
The ruling, handed down Wednesday by U.S. District Judge David Urias, is a blow to Democratic New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as she reacts to a string of recent shootings that have claimed the lives of children, including an 11-year-old boy. He had left minor league baseball. Sports in Albuquerque.
lujan grisham put emergency public health order On Friday, the right to carry or conceal guns in public was suspended based on statistical thresholds for violent crime, which are encountered only in Albuquerque and its outskirts. The Governor cited recent shootings Across the state where children died, he said something needed to be done. Still, he acknowledged that criminals would ignore the order.
Violators face civil penalties and fines up to $5,000 by state police. The local sheriff and Albuquerque’s police chief refused to enforce the order.
Gun rights advocates launched a flurry of legal challenges to the order in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, alleging it violates civil rights under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Republicans, who hold the legislative majority, have called for impeachment proceedings against the governor.
Despite protests that have drawn crowds to public squares in Albuquerque in recent days, Lujan Grisham remains defiant. The governor is again testing the limits of her executive authority after using public health orders for aggressive lockdowns during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The demonstrators also included mothers and military veterans, many of whom had pistols slung at their hips and rifles slung over their shoulders. He has expressed concern about the city’s ability to protect itself from violent crime in a city that has been plagued by drive-by shootings and fatal road rage incidents.
Even top Democrats — including New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez — have suggested the governor’s time would have been better spent developing comprehensive legislation to deal with the issue.
New Mexico is an open state, so the governor’s order prohibiting open and concealed carry of firearms affects anyone in Bernalillo County who can legally own a gun, with a few exceptions. More than 14,500 people in Bernalillo County had an active concealed carry license, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety for the 2023 fiscal year.
Statewide, including Bernalillo County, data for the 2023 fiscal year shows more than 45,000 active concealed carry licenses.
State police confirmed late Tuesday that no one had been cited for violating the governor’s order.
The New Mexico Chiefs of Police Association said every law enforcement officer in the state shares Lujan Grisham’s concerns about gun violence, but this order is the wrong approach. The group’s leader, Farmington Police Chief Steven Hebbe, said the association will join others in calling a special legislative session to combat gun violence.
“The knee-jerk reaction of curtailing the rights of every citizen instead of focusing on the lawbreakers who plague our communities cannot be justified,” Hebbe said.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Harold Medina on Tuesday outlined what the city is doing to combat crime, saying law enforcement and judicial officials will be meeting through 2021 to develop legislative priorities and other efforts. are what they refer to as “broken”. criminal justice system.”
Officials said many of the proposals have been watered down to the point of being ineffective and funding for critical programs and personnel has been cut.
“Albuquerque families cannot afford political debates that distract us from fighting violent crime,” Keller said. “This is a powerful moment to hear from police and behavioral health professionals in one special session to bring about needed change.”