New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared a 30-day ban on the open and concealed carrying of firearms in Albuquerque and Bernalillo counties in response to an 11-year-old boy who was killed on his way home from a baseball game Wednesday. The declaration has met with some resistance, most recently from Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen who has "reservations" about the proposal due to its challenge of the United States Constitution.
Governor Grisham shared her justification for the move in a press conference on Friday: “No constitutional right, in my view, including my oath, is intended to be absolute. There are restrictions on free speech, there are restrictions on my freedoms. In this emergency, this 11-year-old and all these parents who have lost all these children, they deserve my attention.”
Today, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an emergency order temporarily suspending open and concealed carry laws in Albuquerque and throughout Bernalillo County for the next 30 days. This move has been positioned as a response to the alarming and tragic rise in gun violence,… pic.twitter.com/prfHGdISS1
— BCSO (Sheriff) NM (@BCSONM) September 9, 2023
However, Sheriff Allen is adamant that upholding the Constitution is a priority. In an official statement on Friday, Sheriff Allen expressed his reservations over the ban. “While I understand and appreciate the urgency,” Allen said, “the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our Constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold. I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts, as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense.”
The Sheriff also highlighted initiatives his department has implemented to reduce gun violence, including utilizing Extreme Risk Protection Orders, creating a behavioral health unit, launching a youth gun violence prevention program, felon firearm possession intervention, a crime commission initiative, partnering with different agencies, and a violence intervention program.
In response to the Sheriff’s statement, Governor Grisham shared her stance on the issue, commenting that the “majority of New Mexicans agree that a temporary ban of open and concealed carry is necessary to protect our most precious possessions—our children. I have declared this a public health emergency, and I am ready for whatever legal battles come our way.”
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina Page also weighed in on the debate, stating in a press conference that his department will not be responsible for enforcing the ban, which will instead be left up to state law enforcement.
The debate over the proposal continues as the country looks to New Mexico's example for answers in the wake of unending gun violence.