ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said she will enact a temporary ban on carrying firearms in any public space across Bernalillo County. The governor made the announcement during a news conference Friday.
- Read: Executive Order
- Read: Public Health Emergency Order Imposing Temporary Firearm Restrictions, Drug Monitoring and Other Public Safety Measures
Sitting alongside the Albuquerque Police Chief and Bernalillo County Sheriff, the governor says part of this new order is a 30-day suspension on open and concealed carry on public property for anyone other than law enforcement or licensed security. “I’ve warned everyone that we expect a direct challenge, probably as you’re writing this we’re getting a challenge, and that’s the way it should work. But I have to take a tough direct stand, or basically I’m just ignoring the fact that we lost an 11-year-old, another child,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.
Watch full news conference below
The order is effective as of Friday, September 8, 2023, and only applies to Bernalillo County. The governor is basing the order on the county averaging more than 1,000 violent crimes per 100,000 people, and a lot of emergency room visits for gun injuries.
As for enforcement, she admits it will be “complicated” but they’re working with New Mexico State Police and district attorneys on how it will work. The governor says anyone caught breaking the order will fall under a “civil violation” connected to her public health order.
The governor says she doesn’t expect criminals to follow the order. But she hopes it is “a resounding message,” to everyone else in the community to report gun crime. “The point here is, is that, if everyone did it, and I wasn’t legally challenged, you would have fewer risks on the street, and I could safely say, to every New Mexican, particularly those folks living in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, I believe that you’re safer for the next 30 days, we have to wait and see,” said Lujan Grisham.
Alongside the order, the governor is appointing former NMSP chief Pete Kassetas to head up a task force on gun violence. There’s also a $750,000 appropriation to help pay for the order.
The state will now start checking with gun shops monthly to ensure compliance with gun sales laws in the state. The state’s Health Department will also have 20 days to compile a list of gunshot victims in the state going to hospitals and collect data of their cases.
As for youthful offenders in the state, the order states that the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department must suspend its juvenile detention alternative program and evaluate juvenile probation protocols.
The governor also said law enforcement who sat with her at Friday’s press conference may not agree with the first step in her public health order.
The Albuquerque Mayor’s Office sent this statement Friday night:
We welcome meaningful solutions and additional resources to fight crime in Albuquerque. APD is not responsible for enforcing the governor’s ban, our officers will continue to enforce all criminal laws, combat gun violence, and push for needed justice in our city.Mayor Tim Keller’s office
In response to the governor’s order state Senate Republicans released this statement:
A child is murdered, the perpetrator is still on the loose, and what does the governor do? She throws the mayor of Albuquerque under the bus and then targets law-abiding citizens with an unconstitutional gun order. Tragically, this is what we have come to expect from an administration that refuses to take responsibility for the crime epidemic gripping our state. It is time for the governor to stop pointing fingers and admit that her soft-on-crime approach has failed and put the safety of all New Mexicans in great jeopardy.Senate Republican Leader Sen. Greg Baca (R-Belen)
Sam Bregman, the second Judicial District Attorney, made a statement on the order:
As an officer of the court, I cannot and will not enforce something that is clearly unconstitutional. This office will continue to focus on criminals of any age that use guns in the commission of a crime.2nd Judicial District Attorney Sam Bregman