April 15, 2024

It looks like the good guys have won again. Less than a week after New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an “emergency” order prohibiting the carrying of firearms in Albuquerque, she has backed down. The governor, who issued the order ostensibly to combat a recent rash of gun homicides, has amended the order to apply only to parks and playgrounds.

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The supposed change of heart came after a week of backlash against the order from those arguing that it violated the Second Amendment. While the order is still being challenged in court to ensure Lujan Grisham cannot impose another such measure, gun owners in Albuquerque can now legally carry their firearms again.

From a press release published by Gov. Lujan Grisham’s office:

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an updated public health order today outlining additional measures to combat gun violence in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. The governor made the announcement in Albuquerque alongside state legislative leadership and public safety officials Friday.

“I’m going to continue pushing to make sure that all of us are using every resource available to put an end to this public health emergency with the urgency it deserves,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I will not accept the status quo – enough is enough.”

Provisions in the updated public health order issued Friday include:

• Removing the previous provision around firearms and replacing it with a provision that temporarily suspends the carrying of firearms at parks and playgrounds in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.

• Directing the New Mexico Department of Corrections and the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to provide assistance to the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center and its contractors to ensure adequate staffing, space, and screening for arrested and incarcerated individuals; provided that nothing in this provision shall be construed to limit the authority and responsibility of Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center in managing its operations.

• Directing all participating New Mexico Managed Care Organizations to immediately ensure that individuals who need drug or alcohol treatment have received a permanent, adequate treatment placement within 24 hours of the request.

• Directing the New Mexico Human Services Department to send relevant Managed Care Organizations letters of direction requiring them to provide their plans to achieve continual behavioral health network adequacy.

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These rules do not apply to parklands managed by the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department or State Land Office.

When the governor issued the order, she was criticized by people on the right and, surprisingly, on the left. A rally was held days after the order was issued in which armed participants protested for their right to keep and bear arms.

Further complicating the matter for Lujan Grisham was the fact that the county sheriff indicated that he would refuse to enforce the order. The state attorney general also announced that he would refuse to prosecute people arrested for violating the measure. It was clear that the governor did not have the support she needed to keep the order in place.

This development is being hailed as a major win for supporters of gun rights. Perhaps now, the state’s government can focus on actual solutions to violent criminality — rather than disarming those who need to defend themselves from it.

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