SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an emergency order Friday amid a spate of gun violence suspending the right to publicly carry firearms in Albuquerque and surrounding counties for at least 30 days becomes.
The Democratic governor said she anticipates legal challenges but feels compelled to act in response to gun deaths, including the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball stadium this week.
The gun ban is tied to a violent crime threshold that only the Albuquerque region currently meets. Police officers and licensed security guards are exempt from the temporary ban.
The order imposes “civil administrative penalties provided for by law,” which include a fine of up to $5,000, said Caroline Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the governor.
Individuals with concealed carry permits are still permitted to transport weapons to some private locations, such as a shooting range or gun shop – provided the weapon has a trigger lock or other container or mechanism that makes firing impossible, according to the terms of the order.
Lujan Grisham said the restrictions “will present incredible challenges to me as governor and as a state.”
“I welcome the debate and fight about how to make New Mexicans safer,” she said at a news conference attended by top law enforcement officials, including the district attorney for the Albuquerque region.
Lujan Grisham pointed to several recent shootings in Albuquerque. Among them was a road rage shooting outside a minor league ballpark on Wednesday that left 11-year-old Froyland Villegas dead and a woman critically injured when her vehicle was riddled with bullets as crowds were leaving a night game.
Last month, five-year-old Galilea Samaniego was fatally shot as she slept in a mobile home. According to police, shortly before 6 a.m. on August 13, four teenagers entered the trailer park in two stolen vehicles and opened fire on the trailer. The girl was hit in the head and later died in hospital.
The governor also cited the August shooting of 13-year-old Amber Archuleta in Taos County. A 14-year-old boy shot the girl with his father’s gun while they were at his house.
The top Republican in the state Senate condemned the decision to restrict guns amid violent crime.
“A child is murdered, the perpetrator is still at large, and what is the governor doing?” She … is targeting law-abiding citizens with an unconstitutional gun warrant,” said Sen. Greg Baca of Belen.
Since 2019, Lujan Grisham has signed a number of laws restricting access to guns, including a 2020 “red flag” law that allows police or sheriff’s deputies to petition a court to have weapons temporarily confiscated from them to apply to people who might harm themselves or others, expanding background check requirements to almost all private gun sales and banning gun ownership for people under permanent protective orders for domestic violence.