Wednesday, September 13, 2023

U.S. District Judge Blocks New Mexico Governor's Ban on Public Carrying of Firearms

AP Photo/Roberto E Rosales

In a significant legal victory for Second Amendment advocates, U.S. District Judge David Urias has issued a temporary restraining order, effectively nullifying New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's recent emergency health order that halted public open and concealed carry of firearms in Albuquerque and surrounding areas. The ruling comes in response to several lawsuits filed by gun rights supporters who argue that the governor's order infringes upon constitutional freedoms.

Judge Urias' decision is viewed as a stumbling block for Governor Lujan Grisham's attempts to address a spate of recent violent incidents that resulted in child fatalities. While acknowledging the governor's intentions to mitigate crime, Urias pointed out that the legal issue at hand specifically concerns the constitutional rights of citizens.

Both the Albuquerque police chief and the local sheriff had already refused to enforce the governor's firearms ban, which had empowered state police to levy civil penalties and fines up to $5,000. Meanwhile, the rest of the governor's public health directives—encompassing matters like hospital gunshot victim reports and mandatory firearms dealer inspections—remain in effect.

Gun rights activists have mounted extensive legal opposition to the governor's order, which they consider to be a breach of Second Amendment rights. Calls for impeachment of the governor have been raised by Republicans holding legislative majority seats. Various protesters, including mothers and military veterans, visibly armed, have expressed their fears about being left defenseless against violent criminals, especially given Albuquerque's history of drive-by shootings and lethal road rage incidents.

Even Democratic leaders like New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez have criticized the governor’s focus on the firearms ban, suggesting that a more comprehensive legislative approach would be better suited to address the root causes of violent crime.

In a state where open carry is legal and more than 45,000 active concealed carry licenses are held, according to 2023 data, the governor's sweeping ban affected a significant portion of law-abiding citizens in Bernalillo County and beyond. As of now, no citations have been issued for violations of the ban.

The New Mexico Chiefs of Police Association has also voiced its disapproval of the governor's order. Farmington Police Chief Steven Hebbe, head of the association, called for a special legislative session to constructively tackle the issue of gun violence, stating that stripping away the rights of responsible citizens is not the solution.

Amid this backdrop, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Harold Medina have emphasized the need for legislative action that directly addresses criminal justice system flaws rather than provoking divisive political debates. The city has been working on crime prevention strategies since 2021, but many of these initiatives have been undermined due to insufficient funding and legislative dilution.

Gun Coyote | Gun Deals

Get Our Deals Newsletter

No comments:

Post a Comment