New Mexico AG will not defend governor’s temporary ban on guns in public

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez issued a letter to the governor, advising his office will not defend her public health order on gun violence.

In the letter issued Tuesday, AG Torrez said the emergency order infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. Torrez also said it is unclear how the order would measurably reduce gun violence in the community.

“Given that only responsible gun owners are likely to abide, much less recognize your ban, it is unclear how this action will lead to a measurable decline in gun violence in our community,” Torrez wrote. “The data do not support the conclusion that gun violence in our community is attributable to otherwise law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional right to carry firearms for protection outside the home.”

The state attorney general described the recent shooting deaths of two kids as a “wake-up call to everyone” on the impact of gun violence in the community.

However, Torrez questioned the use of a public health emergency to address that.

“I believe it is unwise to stretch the definition of a ‘public health emergency’ to encompass something that is fundamentally a public safety issue,” Torrez wrote in the letter.

Torrez called on the governor to develop a plan for the New Mexico Legislature to consider in the upcoming session.

Some of the steps Torrez called for in the letter include:

  • More and better-trained police officers
  • Stricter gun laws
  • Tougher guidelines for pretrial detention
  • “Robust” mental health and drug treatment
  • Rehabilitation programs to reduce recidivism
  • Real-time data on gun crimes and gun trafficking
  • Protective services framework to ensure child victims stay out of crime