New Mexico legal challenge examines gun carry restrictions amid state gun control initiatives

The legality of restricting public gun carrying during a public health emergency order is facing scrutiny in New Mexico, as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham navigates a constitutional debate.

New Mexico’s Democratic Governor is putting the restrictions on gun carrying in public, which are linked to an emergency order for public health, under the microscope. She wants to test the limits of her constitutional authority in response to the violent crime that has been occurring in the largest metropolis in the state.

This is just one of several standoffs that have occurred since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to expand gun rights last year, as leaders of states with a liberal bent explore new ways of restricting firearms.

The morning court date is set for legal challenges against the order of the Governor on public health. Michelle Lujan Grisham has suspended the right to carry guns in public parks and playgrounds around Albuquerque.

Gun rights advocates have filed a flurry of lawsuits challenging the 30-day order on health, which included broad restrictions for carrying guns in public.

Maddy Hayden, Lujan-Grisham’s spokeswoman, said on Monday that the governor would issue new orders regarding gun violence and drug use for another 30 days. She stated that the urgency of the situation is causing arrests and reducing gunfire. These orders include instructions for monthly inspections at firearms dealers in New Mexico, reports of gunshot victims in New Mexico hospitals, and wastewater testing to detect illicit substances.


U.S. District Judge David Urias, who is based in New York City, ruled in December that the Governor’s original gun restriction order was likely to cause irreparable damage to those who were deprived of their right to carry guns in public to defend themselves. He granted a temporary injunction blocking the order until the hearing on Tuesday.

The governor tied the suspension of certain gun rights to an Albuquerque-specific statistical threshold for violent crimes.

In New Mexico, the legal battle about gun-carrying restrictions is heating up.

In a recent filing, Urias stated that “restrictions on gun activity in playgrounds and other areas where children play” may very well be constitutional.

The order gives the state police authority to impose civil penalties, including fines up to $5,000, for violations. Both the sheriff of Albuquerque and its police chief refused to enforce it.

The order has inspired gun rights advocates, including Republican legislators who have threatened to impeach Lujan Grisham.


Some prominent Democrats, civil rights leaders and gun control advocates warn that the Governor’s decision could be detrimental to efforts to reduce gun violence. The Democratic State Attorney General has asked her to reconsider.

In addition to California, Washington, Colorado, and Maryland, other states have also passed gun laws that are facing legal challenges.

Last week California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed almost two dozen gun control laws. These include measures that ban the carrying of guns in public and double taxes on ammunition and firearms sales.

Newsom acknowledged that some gun measures may not survive the courts. Last month, a federal court struck down a California law that prohibited guns with magazines detachable carrying more than 10 bullets.

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