Created: August 17, 2020 06:41 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Three unlikely groups are pushing back against the city of Albuquerque’s ordinance that bans weapons in city parks, citing that the rule was not actually passed by the city council.
Questions were raised about the ordinance after Black Lives Matter protester Frankie Grady was arrested for having a gun on Civic Plaza during a demonstration last month, but police charged him with carrying a firearm on school grounds. On Sunday, those charges were dismissed.
“I think the city is taking a position that they can apply this law to any public ground, and city property, where a school event may have once taken place or has once taken place, but obviously the district attorney's office and I don't agree,” said Ryan Villa, Grady’s attorney.
Court documents for Grady reveal that the district attorney’s office dropped the charges because they were concerned about the “constitutionality and the legal basis for the charge.”
District Attorney Raul Torrez reached out to the attorney general for guidance. A spokesperson from Torrez’s office sent KOB 4 the following statement:
"Before pursuing any criminal prosecution under the City's recent administrative order banning firearms on Civic Plaza, we have asked the attorney general for a formal opinion on the constitutionality of that measure. As we await the attorney general's opinion, we will continue to work with our public safety partners to ensure the proper balance between the right to peaceful assembly and the right to keep and bear arms."
Meanwhile, the city of Albuquerque said they’re going to continue using the state-wide ban on weapons at schools to cite people who bring weapons to city parks.
"We will continue to courageously enforce, regardless of others' political opinions, the administrative order to ban guns from city areas where kids play to keep families safe," read a statement from the city's attorney in part.
It’s not only protesters who are worried about the new rule. The New Mexico Shooting Sports Association, a group associated with the National Rifle Association, said they believe the city rule is overstepping boundaries.
"Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is brazenly overstepping his authority as mayor in attempting to ban firearms at Albuquerque Civic Plaza and City of Albuquerque Parks,” read a statement from the NMSSA in part. “Neither the mayor, nor Albuquerque City Council, has the authority to regulate an instance of a New Mexican's right to keep and bear arms as enshrined in the State Constitution."
In other words, the group shared the same sentiments as Grady’s lawyer.
“The city certainly has the ability, if it wants, to pass a law. They have to go through its normal process to pass a law. Instead what happened here is the city, I think from the mayor on up, said apply the school grounds law to Civic Plaza. I think that's the part that the district attorney's office and I have problems with the constitutionality,” Villa said. “They're trying to apply state law in a situation where it just doesn't apply at all.”
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