In a recent development, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed an emergency order, temporarily prohibiting the public carrying of firearms in Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County. This bold move comes in response to a public health emergency declaration aimed at addressing gun violence and drug abuse. This article delves into the details of the order, its implications, and the legal challenges it faces.
The Emergency Order
Governor Lujan Grisham’s order, issued on a Friday, encompasses a 30-day suspension of open and concealed carry laws within Bernalillo County. Additionally, it imposes a ban on carrying firearms on state property, including state buildings, schools, and certain parks. However, it’s important to note that this order excludes security guards and law enforcement officials. Individuals with permits to carry firearms can still possess them on private property under specific conditions, such as transporting them in a locked box with a trigger lock.
Governor’s Intent and Backlash
The governor’s decision to enact this order stems from the alarming rise in gun-related incidents, including the tragic deaths of a 13-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy, as well as two mass shootings in May within the state. While the governor acknowledges that the order may not directly deter criminals from carrying firearms on the streets, she believes it sends a clear message to the community to report crimes and cooperate with law enforcement.
Enforcement and Resistance
Enforcing this order has encountered resistance from local law enforcement. State police have been tasked with its implementation, and fines of up to $5,000 may be imposed on violators. However, Bernalillo County police have expressed reluctance to enforce the order, citing concerns about its constitutionality.
Governor Lujan Grisham firmly asserts her authority in this matter, emphasizing that it is not for police to decide what is constitutional. She emphasizes that the primary goal is to make the community safer, particularly for young residents affected by gun violence.
Legal Challenges and Precedent
Lujan Grisham’s order faces legal challenges from various groups, asserting that it exceeds her executive powers and infringes on Second Amendment rights. Notably, gun rights advocates refer to the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2022 case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which upheld the right to carry a gun in public for self-defense.
Public Response and Debate
The order has generated mixed responses, with some residents and advocacy groups supporting it as a necessary step to address a growing problem. However, it has also faced backlash from gun rights supporters, with calls for the governor’s impeachment. Some advocates of gun safety have expressed concerns over the order’s implementation, emphasizing their support for gun control but highlighting constitutional issues.
Takeaway on the New Mexico Decision
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s temporary firearm ban in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County marks an unprecedented step in addressing gun violence and public safety. While it faces legal challenges and mixed public responses, it underscores the urgency of finding solutions to the complex issue of gun violence.