New Mexico governor amends gun order to allow for firearms in most public places

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(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has amended her emergency public health order suspending the right to carry firearms in public in and around Albuquerque, days after a judge temporarily blocked its enforcement.

During a press briefing on Friday, Lujan Grisham announced that the amended order allows for open and concealed carry, except in public parks or playgrounds “where we know we have high risk of kids and families,” she said.

The governor originally issued a 30-day suspension of open and concealed carry laws on Sept. 8 in Bernalillo County, where Albuquerque, the state’s most populous city, is seated. It was quickly met with pushback, prompting multiple lawsuits and a call for impeachment of the Democratic leader.

New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez, a fellow Democrat, also said he would not defend the state in the lawsuits over the order, stating in a letter that he did not believe the order would have any meaningful impact on public safety.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Albuquerque granted a temporary restraining order, blocking enforcement of the governor’s public health order until an Oct. 3 court hearing.

Lujan Grisham said the changes to the order come after “listening to the debate in court.”

“We believe that a suspension is very different from a ban; court is leaning to determine otherwise,” Lujan Grisham said during the press briefing while addressing Wednesday’s hearing. “We can be wrong about the law on that case.”

“I want to point out that the conversation in that court was pretty clear that we are not wrong about this emergency, or about the issues related to violence, gun violence and public safety generally,” she continued.

The governor cited the recent shooting deaths of three children, including an 11-year-old boy gunned down outside a minor league baseball park last week, in issuing the temporary ban.

The decree came a day after Lujan Grisham declared gun violence a statewide public health emergency, saying “the rate of gun deaths in New Mexico increased 43% from 2009 to 2018.”

When asked about the criticism of the order on Friday, the governor said, “When you try to build consensus on gun violence measures, I’m going to tell you, you cannot.”

Lujan Grisham said if the amended order is still challenged at the October hearing, “then we’ll go to the legislature and see what will hold muster.”

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