Sheriff says BCSO will not enforce governor’s order banning guns in public

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Law enforcement agencies across New Mexico are voicing opposition and concerns over Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health order on gun violence.

The order bans the carrying of guns – open or concealed – in Albuquerque and across Bernalillo County for the next 30 days.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen has made it clear his department will not enforce the order. Although he’s not on the same page as the governor, he says that’s not going to stop him from working with her to address the bigger issue – gun violence.

The governor says technically the only agency allowed to legally enforce the order is New Mexico State Police.

“The state police aren’t bound by those same issues, and are required to enforce any of the public orders or emergency orders that I have the power to execute,” Lujan Grisham said during the announcement Friday.

On Monday, Allen said he understands the urge to do something to protect the public, but the ban is unconstitutional.

“My oath was to protect the Constitution, and that is what I will do,” Allen said.

The sheriff said that just last week his brother was also a victim of gun violence.

“While he and my nephew were sitting in our they, they were shot at, and their vehicle was impacted by numerous rounds,” Allen said. “How can I, as a sheriff, tell him to put his firearms away and not be able to protect himself?”

The sheriff wants to find solutions.

“Everybody around the nation is going to want me to be very confrontational with the governor, and it’s me against her. It’s not. We still work as a team,” Allen said.

BCSO has been partnering with the city on the Violence Intervention Program, and the department is also working on setting up a new multi-agency task force focused on firearm crimes.

The sheriff is also asking the governor to call a special session.

“This will take time,” Allen said. “There’s no quick fix or a magic wand to do this, because this has been going on for so long. We have to start somewhere, but we have to do it right.”

The governor has already faced a lot of backlash, but says she stands by her decision. Allen says he plants to meet with the governor again sometime this week.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina shared the following message with APD officers following the announcement:

“The governor issued a 30-day state order that limits gun possession in Bernalillo County, including the City of Albuquerque. The governor made it clear that state law enforcement, and not APD, will be responsible for enforcement of civil violations of the order.

Our officers at APD will continue to focus on the enforcement of criminal laws and arresting the criminals who are driving violent crime in the city. We have arrested over 200 murder suspects in the last two years and field officers are making dozens of felony arrests every day. Everyone is stepping up to keep Albuquerque residents safe from the influx of guns and illegal drugs. We know all too well what it means that an 11-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl were tragically killed by indiscriminate gun violence. We share in the pain when our detectives, officers, victim advocates and chaplains respond to these tragedies and hold the hands of family members who are devastated by the loss of precious lives. Nobody feels the pressure more than detectives who are expected to bring justice to those families. Time and time again, they rise to the challenge, and usually because the community stands by APD during these investigations.

I appreciate any support we can get to save lives and end gun violence in Albuquerque. Let’s all work together to keep Albuquerque safe.”

KOB 4 reached out to New Mexico State Police about enforcing the public health order, but we have not heard back.