Facing Pushback From Both Parties, New Mexico Governor Scales Back Firearms Order

The News

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico on Friday scaled back a temporary public health order restricting the carrying of firearms in the Albuquerque metro area, limiting a ban to only parks and playgrounds. The initial ban, which was issued Sept. 8 and was to have covered 30 days, had prohibited the carrying of open and concealed firearms in public areas or on state property.

Several individuals and groups had sued to block Ms. Lujan Grisham’s original order, and a federal judge on Wednesday sided with the plaintiffs, who argued that the suspension of gun rights violated the Constitution. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge David Urias granted a temporary restraining order blocking the governor’s suspension. The governor’s most recent executive order essentially replaces the blocked one.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued her original ban on Sept. 8, with exceptions only for law enforcement or licensed security guards, as a declaration of a public health emergency.Credit…Andres Leighton/Associated Press

Why It Matters: The original ban was criticized by both the right and the left.

The governor’s initial ban was swiftly met with pushback from Republicans and fellow Democrats alike. Two Republican state representatives, Stefani Lord and John Block, called on Sept. 9 for Ms. Lujan Grisham to be impeached, saying that she had violated her oath to New Mexico and the nation.

And in a letter on Tuesday, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez, a Democrat, wrote a letter to the governor saying that he did not believe that the ban “will have any meaningful impact on public safety” and that his office would not defend her in cases that challenged the order.

“I encourage you to engage in a more thoughtful and deliberative process with members of the New Mexico Legislature rather than taking unilateral action that infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Mr. Torrez wrote.

Ms. Lord still took issue with the amended order, writing on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that the governor is “still pushing the limits of the Second Amendment.”

Background: The initial order was issued as a public health emergency.

Ms. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, issued her original ban on Sept. 8 as a declaration of a public health emergency, with exceptions only for law enforcement or licensed security guards.

The executive order was statewide, but it affected only cities and counties that exceed certain levels of violent crime and gun-related emergency room visits, criteria that currently apply only to Bernalillo County, the seat of which is Albuquerque.

Ms. Lujan Grisham said before the court ruling that she welcomed “the debate and the fight about making New Mexicans safer” and that she knew the suspension would be challenged in court.

She said she was spurred to action after several recent fatal shootings of children, including an 11-year-old boy who was killed outside a minor league baseball stadium this month in Albuquerque.

But the federal judge did not agree with that justification. “Although the State of New Mexico raises important safety concerns, at this stage it fails to demonstrate that the public safety concerns overcome the public’s interest in preventing constitutional violations,” the decision said.

What’s Next: A hearing on the merits of the initial public order

The temporary restraining order will remain in place until a hearing early next month. A spokesperson for the governor said she would fight to restore the provisions that were restricted by the judge.

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