Federal Judge Blocks Suspension of Right to Carry Firearms in Public Ordered by New Mexico Governor

People display open carry firearms at a Second Amendment Protest in response to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recent public health order suspending the conceal and open carry of guns in and around Albuquerque for 30-days, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Roberto E. Rosales)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked part of a public health order that suspended the right to carry guns in public across New Mexico’s largest metro area.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge David Urias marks a setback for Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as she responds to several recent shootings that took the lives of children, including an 11-year-old boy as he left a minor league baseball game in Albuquerque.

Lujan Grisham imposed an emergency public health order Friday that suspended the right to open or concealed carry of guns in public places based on a statistical threshold for violent crime that is only encountered in Albuquerque and its outskirts. The governor cited recent shootings around the state that left children dead, saying something needed to be done. Still, she acknowledged that criminals would ignore the order.

Violators would have faced civil penalties and a fine of up to $5,000 by State Police. The local sheriff and Albuquerque’s police chief have refused to enforce the order.

Advocates for gun rights filed a barrage of legal challenges to the order in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque alleging infringement of civil rights under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Republicans in the legislative majority have called for impeachment proceedings against the governor. The governor is testing the boundaries of her executive authority again after using public health orders for aggressive lockdowns during the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

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