New Mexico governor narrows ban on guns in public

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday she will narrow an order broadly suspending the right to carry guns in public.

The order, which originally applied to all public places in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, now only applies to public parks and playgrounds in the area.

The governor started the news conference by referencing several instances of violence since she put the order in place last Friday.

“Since the week I declared an emergency, we have seen 296 shots fired in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County,” Lujan Grisham said. “Last night, we saw violent crime move throughout the city that resulted in a gun injury, two carjackings, and a kidnapping with suspects not yet in custody.”

She hopes the modification to the public health order will strengthen her position. Earlier this week, a federal judge temporarily blocked the portion of her order that banned both open and concealed firearms in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.

The ruling cited a direct conflict with the Second Amendment and will halt the implementation of that portion of the order pending a final hearing, which is scheduled for Oct. 3.

“We have amended the public places component of the gun violence aspect of the public health order,” Lujan Grisham said. “That is amended to be focused now on no open or concealed carry in public parks and playgrounds, where we know we’ve got high risk of kids and families.”

The revised gun restrictions are also unenforceable until the judge makes a ruling on Oct. 3, according to the governor’s office.

Lujan Grisham also added a new provision for managed care organizations, like HMOs or PPOs. Under the revised order, they are instructed to identify treatment for someone – either inpatient or outpatient – within 24 hours.

Another new provision focused on assistance to the Metropolitan Detention Center and its contractors. It directs the New Mexico Department of Corrections and the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to help the county jail with staffing, space, and screening.

At the news conference, Lujan Grisham named Ben Baker to the governor’s staff as a senior public safety advisor. Baker has been the deputy cabinet secretary and interim Law Enforcement Academy director at the Department of Public Safety since 2021, and has worked in law enforcement since 1997.

“This is an opportunity for all New Mexico public safety professionals from all disciplines – police officers, prosecutors, probation and parole personnel, corrections, emergency services and dispatchers – to unite under the shared goal of making our state a safer place to live,” Baker said. “I am grateful to the governor for trusting me with this critical responsibility.”

Lujan Grisham also said she is not going to call a special session, after leaders called for one earlier this week.

The amended public health order is available below.