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New Mexico Governor Modifies Firearm Restrictions to Target Public Parks and Playgrounds

by Michael Nguyen
1 comment
New Mexico Governor firearm restrictions

New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham revised a sweeping order on Friday that had initially suspended the right to carry firearms throughout Albuquerque. The modification now confines the suspension to public parks and playgrounds where families and children frequent.

The adjustment to the order was announced in the wake of a federal judge partially blocking the original directive. The injunction came amidst growing criticism of the Democratic governor’s initial actions and legal objections raised by advocates for gun rights.

Despite the previous restrictions, violent crime and gun-related incidents in Albuquerque have persisted. Lujan Grisham stated in a Friday news conference that her administration remains committed to developing a “legally sound framework” to curb gun violence.

“Violent incidents involving firearms, car hijackings, and a kidnapping occurred just last night, with the suspects still at large,” said Lujan Grisham, speaking in Albuquerque along with senior Democratic state lawmakers and her public safety secretary. “The pressing nature of the situation in our communities demands immediate, serious interventions.”

She clarified that the amended temporary order will now prohibit both open and concealed carrying of firearms specifically in public parks and playgrounds, identified as high-risk areas for families and children.

The new limitations do not extend to parklands that are under the jurisdiction of the State Land Office and the state parks division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. These agencies manage a variety of recreational locations, ranging from an Albuquerque nature center to remote mountain and lakeside camping areas.

U.S. District Judge David Urias indicated on Wednesday that the initial order had the potential to inflict irreparable damage on individuals by depriving them of their right to self-defense through public gun carrying. As a result, a temporary restraining order was granted, and further hearings are scheduled for early October.

Hannah Hill, the executive director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, which is contesting the governor’s order in federal court, observed that Lujan Grisham has refrained from completely lifting the gun restrictions. Hill expressed skepticism over the governor’s intentions, suggesting that it wasn’t a genuine effort to comply with the court’s restraining order.

Numerous lawsuits are in motion challenging aspects of the original order. These include a petition submitted to the New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday by Republican state legislators, the state Republican Party, and the National Rifle Association.

Republican state Representative Randall Pettigrew of Lovington remains steadfast in his legal challenge to defend gun rights, accusing the governor of orchestrating an “assault on the Constitution.”

Earlier in the week, gun-rights advocates staged a rally where many openly carried firearms. Lujan Grisham had initiated the emergency public health order on September 8, citing alarming rates of violent crime in Albuquerque and surrounding areas, as well as recent shootings that resulted in child fatalities.

Even though some prominent Democrats and civil rights leaders warned against the initial sweeping measures, stating it could potentially be counterproductive, the governor affirmed on Friday that legal proceedings had vindicated her call for immediate action to address gun violence.

State Attorney General Raúl Torrez declared that he would not defend the initial 30-day firearm prohibition around Albuquerque, exacerbating divisions among top-ranking elected Democrats in the state.

During the news conference, Governor Lujan Grisham was accompanied by local legislators including House Speaker Javier Martínez of Albuquerque, whose residence had been among those targeted in recent drive-by shootings. Martínez generally spoke of the legislature’s resolve to tackle crime and its underlying factors.

The local Catholic archbishop was among the limited number of figures who, along with long-standing advocates for gun control, expressed support for the governor’s order.

New Mexico is classified as an open-carry state, thus the governor’s amended order has implications for anyone in Bernalillo County—New Mexico’s most populous county and the home of Albuquerque—who can legally own a firearm, subject to certain exemptions.


This updated version clarifies that Judge Urias did not deem the initial gun restrictions unconstitutional, but rather likely to cause irreparable harm to the public.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about New Mexico Governor firearm restrictions

What did New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham amend regarding firearm restrictions?

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham modified a previous order that suspended the right to carry firearms throughout Albuquerque. The revised order now specifically prohibits the carrying of firearms in public parks and playgrounds where families and children frequent.

Why was the original order changed?

The original order was amended due to legal challenges and a federal judge partially blocking its enforcement. The judge indicated that the initial directive had the potential to inflict irreparable damage on individuals by depriving them of their right to carry firearms for self-defense.

What is the scope of the amended restrictions?

The amended restrictions apply solely to public parks and playgrounds. They do not extend to parklands that are under the jurisdiction of the State Land Office and the state parks division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Are there any pending legal actions against the governor’s order?

Yes, there are numerous lawsuits challenging aspects of the original order. These include a petition submitted to the New Mexico Supreme Court by Republican state legislators, the state Republican Party, and the National Rifle Association.

Who are the critics of the governor’s actions, and what are their concerns?

Critics include Republican state legislators, the National Foundation for Gun Rights, and even some Democrats and civil rights leaders. Concerns range from accusations of constitutional violations to fears that such sweeping measures could be counterproductive in efforts to curb gun violence.

What did the State Attorney General say about the governor’s initial order?

State Attorney General Raúl Torrez declared that he would not defend the initial 30-day prohibition against carrying firearms in and around Albuquerque, thereby exacerbating divisions among top-ranking elected Democrats in the state.

What is the current legal status of the amended order?

As of the latest information, the amended order is in effect, focusing on public parks and playgrounds. However, further legal hearings are scheduled for early October to evaluate its legality.

How does this affect residents of Bernalillo County?

Residents of Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque and is New Mexico’s most populous county, are impacted by this amended order if they can legally own a firearm. The order prohibits them from carrying firearms in public parks and playgrounds.

Was there public support for the governor’s actions?

The local Catholic archbishop and long-standing advocates for gun control have expressed support for the governor’s order. However, there has been significant criticism from various quarters, including a rally staged by gun-rights advocates.

More about New Mexico Governor firearm restrictions

  • New Mexico Governor’s Official Statement on Amended Firearm Restrictions
  • U.S. District Judge’s Ruling on Firearm Suspension
  • Overview of Legal Challenges Against the Governor’s Order
  • State Land Office and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Jurisdictions
  • Statement from the National Foundation for Gun Rights
  • New Mexico State Attorney General’s Position on the Order
  • Information on the Public Rally by Gun-rights Advocates
  • Analysis of Gun Violence Statistics in Albuquerque
  • Bernalillo County’s Official Website for Legal Information on Firearm Ownership

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1 comment

JohnDoe21 September 16, 2023 - 11:16 pm

Wow, so the governor backpedaled huh? First its the whole city and now just parks and playgrounds. Gotta say, sounds like she’s making it up as she goes along.

Reply

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