New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, issued an emergency order on Friday suspending the right to carry guns in public across Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County for at least 30 days following recent instances of gun violence.
The governor said she expects the order to face legal challenges but that she believed she needed to act in response to recent gun-related deaths, such as an 11-year-old boy who was shot and killed outside a minor league baseball stadium earlier this week.
"When New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game — when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn — something is very wrong," Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
The suspension was classified as an emergency public health order, and applies to open and concealed carry in most public places, excluding police and licensed security guards. The restriction is connected to a threshold for violent crime rates met only by the Albuquerque area.
Violators could face civil penalties and a fine of up to $5,000, the governor's spokeswoman Caroline Sweeney said. The governor said state police are responsible for enforcing the order, but she acknowledged not all law enforcement officials – including the district attorney for the Albuquerque area – agree with it.
"I welcome the debate and fight about how to make New Mexicans safer," Lujan Grisham said at a news conference.
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said in a statement Friday night that he has concerns about the order but is prepared to cooperate to address gun violence.
"While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold," Allen said. "I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts, as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense."... (Read more)
Submitted 88 days ago