New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared gun violence and drug abuse a public health emergency following a string of recent deadly shootings, some involving children.
The emergency order includes the suspension of open and concealed carry laws in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, temporarily banning the carrying of weapons on public property with certain exceptions, according to a statement from Lujan Grisham Friday.
Lujan Grisham cited the shooting deaths of three children from July through September, as well as a pair of mass shootings in the state.
“The time for standard measures is over,” said Lujan Grisham, a Democrat. “And if New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to walk their children to school, to leave a baseball game – if their very existence is threatened by the prospect of violence at any moment – there is something very wrong.”
Under the plan, citizens with a carry permit will still be allowed to possess their weapons on private property, such as shooting ranges and gun stores, if the firearm is transported in a locked box or if a trigger lock or other mechanism is used to prevent the weapon from being locked in. to allow layoffs, the statement said.
The order was issued after consultation with public safety officials, including Bernalillo District Attorney Sam Bregman, Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina and former State Police Chief Pete Kassetas.
The order also bans firearms on state property, including state buildings and schools, as well as parks and other places where children congregate.
Under the order, licensed firearms dealers will be inspected monthly by New Mexico’s Regulation and Licensing Division to ensure compliance with sales and storage laws. In addition, state health and environmental officials will begin testing wastewater at schools for illegal substances such as fentanyl.
According to the statement, the order is effective immediately.
In May, two mass shootings in New Mexico left six dead and 11 injured. The state has one of the highest rates of gun violence and suicide in the country.
Some law enforcement and elected officials say the order goes too far
Law enforcement officials in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County oppose the order — even as they agree that gun violence has become extreme.
“While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the very foundation of our Constitution, which I swore under oath to uphold,” said Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen. said in a statement.
Allen said he is concerned about placing his deputies “in positions that could lead to conflicts over civil liability, as well as the potential risks of depriving law-abiding citizens of their constitutional right to self-defense.”
Albuquerque’s police chief also expressed a desire not to become involved in the order. “The Governor has made clear that state law enforcement, not APD, will be responsible for enforcing civil violations of the order,” Chief Harold Medina said in a statement.
The order has infuriated Republicans, with state Reps. Stefani Lord and John Block calling for Lujan Grisham’s ouster. “Rather than tackling crime at its core, (Grisham’s administration) is restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Lord said in a statement Saturday.
Even some national Democrats expressed concern about the scope of the order. “I support gun safety laws. However, this order from the Governor of New Mexico violates the U.S. Constitution,” said Democratic Representative Ted Lieu of California posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “No state in the union can suspend the federal Constitution.”
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