Legislation to limit governor’s powers on guns, related business operations


SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) –  A handful of state lawmakers are trying to eliminate some of the governor’s powers when it comes to guns. The bill is pushing to make changes as to what the governor can restrict in public health emergencies and in the Riot Control Act.

The proposal follows last year’s temporary shut down of guns and ammunition stores after they were considered non-essential businesses. House Bill 279 would get rid of the governor’s powers in public health emergencies that can restrict business operations for gun manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sellers, shooting ranges, or businesses that give firearm instruction.

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Last year, gun and ammo stores made a lot of noise after they were told to temporarily shut down with other businesses that were considered non-essential because of COVID-19. A local gun store owner said the bill is important because of the public safety aspect. “That’s the whole point to this is that she does not restrict any of that- that we are lawful to keep going because we are an imminent portion to people’s personal safety, not public safety but personal safety and that’s the key,” said Arnold Gallegos of ABQ Guns.

The bill would also get rid of the governor’s abilities in a state of emergency that prohibits people from carrying guns or other weapons outside of their home or business. Analysts note that the governor’s authority under the Riot Control Act in restricting possession of guns outside a home or business for a short period of time could help control the potential escalation of violence and death during a riot or similar situation of unrest.

The bill is scheduled to be debated on Tuesday in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee. This is one of a handful of legislation that proposes to reduce or restrict the governor’s powers when she issues a public health order.

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