Gun rights advocates react to temporary gun ban in parks, playgrounds

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is celebrating a win in her legal battle over her public health order on guns. A federal judge decided Wednesday to allow a temporary ban of guns in parks and playgrounds in Bernalillo County.

The governor’s office limited the ban to those areas after the same federal judge blocked a ban on open carry altogether in Bernalillo County.

After the latest ruling, the governor’s office issued a statement saying in part:

“I am pleased that the court’s ruling today has upheld gun violence as an epidemic in this state. Just as in schools, our children deserve to learn and play without fear. Our families need to know that their safety is our priority.”

But gun rights advocates say they don’t see the ruling that way.

“We don’t want the citizens of Albuquerque to have to avoid those places, because they cannot defend their children there,” said Hannah Hill, the executive director of the legal arm of National Association for Gun Rights.

NAGR says their legal battle isn’t over yet and they plan to take the governor back to court.

“We are currently consulting with our attorneys on that very thing. We can appeal, we can just continue to fight at the district court level. Those discussions are ongoing,” Hill said.

But in the meantime, this victory means law enforcement agencies will now be able to enforce this part of the governor’s order.

APD and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office did not agree to enforce the governor’s original public health order, based on constitutionality concerns.

On Thursday, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said, in part:

“APD will investigate all criminal offenses involving a firearm. When officers encounter individuals who violate the state’s emergency order and possession is the only violation, they will forward those cases to the New Mexico State Police.”

BCSO then told KOB 4 they will still not be enforcing the order, saying:

“Though we acknowledge the order’s intent, our attention is on the pressing violent crime issues in our community. We are prioritizing impactful initiatives, such as operation clean sweep, that have a track record of reducing crime.”

KOB 4 also reached out to New Mexico State Police to see how they plan on enforcing this order. We have not heard back yet.