New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday issued an emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque and the surrounding county for at least 30 days in the midst of a spate of gun violence.
The Democratic governor said she is expecting legal challenges but felt compelled to act in response to gun deaths, including the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball stadium this week.
The firearms suspension is tied to a threshold for violent crime rates that only the Albuquerque area currently meets. Police and licensed security guards are exempt from the temporary ban.
The order calls for “civil administrative penalties availably by law" that include a fine of up to $5,000, said Caroline Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the governor.
People with concealed carry permits are still allowed transport guns to some private locations such as a gun range or gun store — provided that the firearm has a trigger lock or some other container or mechanism that makes it impossible to discharge, under terms of the order.
The governor signed an executive order on Thursday to declare gun violence a public health emergency, noting that guns are the leading cause of death of children in the state.
"These gun-related deaths and injuries have resulted in devastating physical and emotional consequences for individuals, families and communities throughout the state," Grisham wrote in the order.
The governor declared the emergency after the shooting death of an 11-year-old boy who was on his way home from a baseball game this week.
Addressing her decision to use the powers of the executive branch, Lujan Grisham was critical of the Department of Justice. She said she has repeatedly reached out to Attorney General Merrick Garland about sending additional federal agents to the state, but her requests have been met with "deafening silence."
The immediate action of the executive order will be freeing up $750,000 for the purpose of reducing gun violence. It also encourages local leaders to request additional emergency funding from the state.
“To my fellow citizens: Get loud. Step up. Demand change: From your neighbors, from your friends, from your communities, from your elected leaders. Enough is enough," Lujan Grisham said.
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