The right to carry guns in public was suspended for at least 30 days in Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County, New Mexico on Friday, following several instances of gun violence and an 11-year-old boy killed in a shooting outside a minor league baseball stadium earlier this week.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, issued an emergency order suspending the right to carry guns in public places, excluding law enforcement and licensed security guards, for a month in response to the recent violent activity.
I support gun safety laws. However, this order from the Governor of New Mexico violates the U.S. Constitution. No state in the union can suspend the federal Constitution. There is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution. https://t.co/kOhLMtaOl2
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 9, 2023
“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,” said Lujan Grisham in a statement.
The emergency public health order was connected to a threshold of violent crime rates, met only by the Albuquerque area. Violators of the order can face civil penalties and a maximum fine of $5,000, according to the governor’s spokeswoman.
Though the governor expects legal challenges, she is standing firm and issued a warning to anyone considering violating the gun suspension: “It is a zero-tolerance measure.”
While Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen has expressed concerns about the order, he stated he is prepared to cooperate in order to address gun violence.
Allen said, “While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold.”
The shooting of 11-year-old Froyland Villegas outside an Albuquerque Isotopes game earlier this week, and 5-year-old Galilea Samaniego and 13-year-old Amber Archuleta in August, pushed Lujan Grisham into action.
In the past year, the governor has signed several bills restricting gun access, including a 2020 “red flag” law allowing law enforcement to ask a court to temporarily remove guns from individuals who are considered a danger to themself or others.
I support gun safety but there is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution. https://t.co/6GfbOZLc7g
— David Hogg 🟧 (@davidhogg111) September 9, 2023
Additionally, the new emergency order directs state regulators to monitor firearms dealers statewide for compliance with gun laws and requests a report from the Department of Health, collecting statistics on gunshot victims including age, race, gender, ethnicity, brand and caliber of firearm involved.
State Senate’s top-ranked Republican, Sen. Greg Baca, was outraged by the order and called it an attack on law-abiding citizens. “A child is murdered, the perpetrator is still on the loose, and what does the governor do? She … targets law-abiding citizens with an unconstitutional gun order,” said Baca.
On the opposite side of the debate, Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, said the order was necessary to reduce gun violence. “If it saves one life, then it’s worth doing,” Viscoli said.
The governor is standing firm and is committed to the order. As of now, carrying firearms in public is suspended for at least 30 days in Albuquerque and the Bernalillo County area. Lujan Grisham said it is up to law enforcement to enforce the order, and those in violation face civil penalties and a fine of up to $5,000.
Holy sh*t is hell freezing over? pic.twitter.com/jufXVasmU1
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) September 9, 2023