New Mexico Governor Temporarily Suspending Public Gun Carry

In a move that has sparked debate around Second Amendment rights in New Mexico, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has issued an emergency order aimed at curbing gun violence. 

Her decision to temporarily suspend the right to carry guns in public throughout Albuquerque and Bernalillo County for a minimum of 30 days came in response to a surge in gun-related incidents that have rattled the state in recent weeks.

Most notable among the incidents is the Wednesday tragic killing of an 11-year-old boy, Froyland Villegas, outside an Albuquerque Isotopes’ baseball game where Villegas and a woman were caught in a hail of bullets as they were leaving the game.

The heartbreaking incident is not an isolated one. In another deeply disturbing case, a 14-year-old boy used his father’s gun to fatally shoot his 13-year-old friend, Amber Archuleta, at his own home in Taos County. And just last month, 5-year-old Galilea Samaniego was shot and killed in her sleep when four teenagers fired upon her home in a mobile home community. 

Grisham has framed her decision as a necessary step to protect New Mexicans as she stated, “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.”

The suspension has been classified as an emergency public health order and applies to both open and concealed carry in most public places, excluding police officers and licensed security guards. Under the terms of the emergency order, violators could face civil penalties and fines of up to $5,000.  

However, this move is expected to face legal challenges from those who argue that it infringes on Second Amendment rights.

While Grisham emphasized that state police would be responsible for enforcing the order, she acknowledged that not all law enforcement officials, including the district attorney for the Albuquerque area, share her view on this matter. 

True to her fears, Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen expressed concerns about the order. “While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold.”

“I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts, as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense,” he added.

Sen. Greg Baca (R-NM), the Senate’s highest-ranked Republican, has strongly voiced criticism against the governor’s firearm suspension, arguing, “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.”

On the other hand, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, Miranda Viscoli, praised the governor’s order as a necessary step to reduce gun violence, stating, “If it saves one life, then it’s worth doing.”