BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) — The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) announced its deputies won’t enforce the governor’s health order. The sheriff noted he questions the legality and the effectiveness of it.
While Sheriff John Allen acknowledged the nature of continued gun violence in Albuquerque, he thinks the Governor’s temporary open and conceal carry ban violates the constitution.
“I have a fact for you. Criminals do not follow the law or a public health order,” said Sheriff Allen.
The governor’s temporary ban applies to guns in public spaces across Bernalillo County. It’s set to last through October 8. She announced it on September 8, days after an 11-year-old was shot and killed in a suspected road rage shooting outside Isotopes Park.
Even though Sheriff Allen was sitting beside the governor during her announcement, he said he told the governor his concerns from the get-go.
Sheriff Allen mentioned in the BCSO announcement on Monday, “We must always remember not only are we protecting the second amendment, but at the same time, we have a lot of violence within our community. Let me be clear, I hold my standards high, and I do not or never will hedge on what is right.”
On top of the constitutional concerns, Sheriff Allen also thinks the gun ban will only punish law abiding gun owners aiming to defend themselves.
He wants to see lawmakers in a special session on crime bills to include harsher penalties for violent and firearm crimes. The sheriff also put emphasis on doing more to address teen offenders.
“I will be asking the crime reduction director for our agency, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, to lead a task force of various law enforcement agencies to focus on crimes with firearms,” added Sheriff Allen.
In response to Sheriff Allen’s stance on the issue, Governor Lujan Grisham responded: “I don’t need a lecture on constitutionality from Sheriff Allen: what I need is action. What we need is for leaders to stand up for the victims of violent crime. We need law enforcement, district attorneys, public officials, school leaders and state agencies to use every single tool at their disposal to stop this violence. Period.
This is an administration that has treated the gun violence epidemic as the crisis that it is. We’ve passed common-sense gun legislation, including red flag laws, domestic violence protections, a ban on straw purchases, and safe storage laws; dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to a fund specifically to help law enforcement hire and retain officers; increased penalties for violent offenders and provided massive support to intervention programs.
We’ve given you the tools, Sheriff Allen — now stop being squeamish about using them. I will not back down from doing what’s right and I will always put the safety of the people of New Mexico first.”
Albuquerque Police Department has also said it won’t enforce the gun ban, leaving the matter up to the State Police. So far, they have yet to file any civil violations tied to the public health order.