Questions Arise Over Constitutionality of New Mexico Governor’s Suspension of Right to Carry in Emergency

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has issued an emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque and the surrounding county for at least 30 days. The order comes in response to a wave of deadly shootings in the area. The firearms suspension is categorized as an emergency public health order and applies to both open and concealed carry in most public places. Certain individuals, such as police officers and licensed security guards, are exempt from the temporary ban.

Residents are still allowed to transport their firearms to private sites, such as gun ranges or gun stores, as long as the firearm is secured with a trigger lock or another mechanism that prevents discharge.

However, there are concerns about the constitutionality of Governor Lujan Grisham’s order. Some New Mexico law enforcement officials, gun control advocates, and Second Amendment supporters question whether the move is in line with the US Constitution. They argue that no state can suspend the federal Constitution, even during a state public health emergency.

Gun control activist David Hogg and California Democrat Representative Ted Lieu have both expressed their support for gun safety but also raised concerns over the potential violation of constitutional rights.

Governor Lujan Grisham expects legal challenges to her order but decided to proceed with it due to recent shootings, including the death of an 11-year-old boy near a minor league baseball stadium. State police will be responsible for enforcing the order, which carries civil penalties and fines of up to $5,000.

While some gun control advocates commend the governor’s decision, not all law enforcement officials in New Mexico agree. Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina and Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen have both stated that they will not enforce the order due to constitutional concerns and the potential risks of infringing on law-abiding citizens’ right to self-defense.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, also a Democrat, has distanced himself from the governor’s emergency order, stating that the Albuquerque Police Department will not be involved in its enforcement.

Governor Lujan Grisham has acknowledged that there is debate and opposition regarding the order. She welcomes the discussion on how to make New Mexicans safer and made her announcement alongside law enforcement officials, including the Albuquerque district attorney.

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