New Mexico governor declares gun violence a public health emergency

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SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared gun violence a public health emergency following the murder of an 11-year-old boy on his way home from an Isotopes game Wednesday night.

Gov. Lujan Grisham shared the following statement:

“Today, I join the family of an 11-year-old boy in mourning his violent death yesterday. And I mourn the loss of a 5-year-old girl murdered in her bed last month. These are disgusting acts of violence that have no place in our communities. As a mother and grandmother, I cannot fathom the depth of these losses, and their effects will be felt by families, friends and communities forever. I send my most sincere condolences to the loved ones of both of these children. 

The time for standard measures has passed. Today I am declaring gun violence a public health emergency in New Mexico.

This administration has done meaningful work to pass legislation, support law enforcement and significantly increase public safety resources to curb violence. 

But it is clear that we need to do more.

I want to know that local officials are giving the epidemic of gun violence the attention it deserves. I want to know that every parent is making sure their guns are locked up. I want to know that district attorneys and judges are using every tool at their disposal to hold bad actors accountable. I want to know that every gun store is not allowing straw purchases. I want to know that every law enforcement agency is using our red flag law.

But until that happens in every community in our state, New Mexicans will continue to die. We must hold each other to a higher standard for the sake of our children. 

To my fellow citizens: get loud. Step up. Demand change: from your neighbors, from your friends, from your communities, from your elected leaders. Enough is enough.”

The governor is calling for a meeting Friday to determine immediate steps that will be taken to crack down further on gun violence in New Mexico communities.

The executive order provides $750,000 to state agencies for the purpose of quickly reducing gun violence and encourages mayors, sheriffs, and other officials to request additional emergency funding from the state as well. 

Gov. Lujan Grisham has asked the federal government to deploy additional resources to New Mexico since June 2022. On Thursday the governor sent a fourth letter to the U.S. Department of Justice – urging them to send immediate resources to New Mexico to assist in stemming the tide of violent crime.

New Mexico House Republican Minority Leader Ryan Lane shared the following statement in response to the governor’s announcement:

“It is unfortunate that the Governor has decided to politicize the death of an 11-year-old to push her anti-gun agenda. What’s likewise unfortunate is that with billions in revenue this state has not funded meaningful criminal justice reform including addressing reckless pre-trial release policies and behavioral health rehabilitation. The Democrat’s policies have created and exacerbated the crime crisis that is literally killing New Mexicans daily. It is unacceptable that it has taken this long to notice the number of everyday New Mexicans that are being affected by criminal violence.”

Ava Montoya, a spokeswoman with Mayor Tim Keller’s office, shared the following statement:

“This is a powerful opportunity for leaders to listen to Albuquerque police officers. We welcome any and all help, from dealing with the national fentanyl problem, to statewide gun violence laws and extra officers in Albuquerque. The sooner we can get past finger pointing to real solutions, the more lives we can save.”

The full executive order is available below, as well as the latest letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.