New Mexico Governor Issues Order Temporarily Suspending Public Carrying of Firearms

Santa Fe, N.M. – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has issued an emergency public health order that temporarily suspends the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. The decision was prompted by recent shootings in the area, including the tragic death of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball stadium.

Governor Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, anticipates legal challenges to the order but asserts that action needs to be taken to address the escalating violence. The enforcement of the order falls under the responsibility of the state police, although the Albuquerque police chief and Bernalillo County sheriff expressed reservations about its constitutionality and their own role in implementing it.

The temporary suspension applies to both open and concealed carry in most public spaces, such as city sidewalks and urban recreational parks. It is connected to a threshold for violent crime rates, currently met only by the metropolitan Albuquerque area. The order does not apply to police officers and licensed security guards.

Violation of the order may result in civil penalties and fines of up to $5,000. However, residents are still permitted to transport firearms to certain private locations, such as gun ranges or stores, as long as the firearms are secured and unable to be discharged.

Governor Lujan Grisham invited debate and discussion about ensuring the safety of New Mexicans, emphasizing the need for action in the face of increasing fear and violence. Recent shootings, including the road rage incident outside the baseball stadium which claimed the life of a young boy and injured a woman, have highlighted the urgency of addressing the issue.

This is not the first time that Governor Lujan Grisham has taken steps to restrict access to firearms. Since 2019, she has signed several pieces of legislation aimed at curbing gun violence, including a “red flag” law and expanded background check requirements. The latest order also directs state regulators to conduct monthly inspections of firearms dealers and requires the compilation of a report on gunshot victims at New Mexico hospitals.

While there are supporters of the governor’s order, such as the co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, its legal fate remains uncertain. Critics, including Senate Republican Greg Baca, argue that targeting law-abiding citizens is not an effective strategy to address violent crime.

The announcement of the order has drawn attention and raised questions about its impact on constitutional rights and ongoing police reform efforts.