A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in public in Albuquerque and the surrounding county.
The Democratic governor’s Sept. 8 directive sought to ban the concealed and open carrying of firearms in New Mexico’s most populous metro area for 30 days, on public health grounds in response to recent shootings in the Land of Enchantment.
“They just want the right to carry their guns,” US District Court Judge David Urias said Tuesday, ruling that the governor’s gun ban flouted the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which made clear that the Second Amendment protects a right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense.
“I don’t blame her for wanting to take action in the face of terrible acts,” Urias, a President Biden appointee, said of Lujan Grisham’s order, before explaining that he had to grapple with a more narrow question concerning the rights of citizens.
State police had authority under Lujan Grisham’s order to enforce the temporary ban by assessing civil penalties and a fine of up to $5,000 for people found carrying a firearm in public, but Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said he wouldn’t enforce the ban.
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen also opposed the order, calling it “unconstitutional.”
“Today a judge temporarily blocked sections of our public health order but recognized the significant problem of gun violence in this state, particularly involving the deaths of children,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “I refuse to be resigned to the status quo. As governor, I see the pain of families who lost their loved ones to gun violence every single day, and I will never stop fighting to prevent other families from enduring these tragedies.”
“Over the past four days, I’ve seen more attention to resolving the crisis of gun violence than I have in the past four years,” she added.
Urias allowed other aspects of the governor’s public health order to remain in place, including monthly inspections of firearms dealers across the state, reports on gunshot victims at New Mexico hospitals and wastewater testing for drugs.
The order sparked a flurry of legal challenges arguing that it was an infringement of civil rights protected by the Second Amendment.
Republican state lawmakers called for impeachment proceedings against the governor in response to the gun ban order.
The judge’s temporary restraining order will remain in place until an Oct. 3 court hearing.