New Mexico Governor Ignites Nationwide Debate with Unprecedented Gun Carry Ban


In an unprecedented move, Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Governor of New Mexico, instigated an emergency declaration, superseding both open and concealed gun carry laws in Albuquerque and its surrounding area, Bernalillo County. This sparked an immediate nationwide debate, ensuing a wave of controversy and legal confrontations.

The imposition of this ban follows the governor’s public health emergency declaration owing to escalating gun violence and drug abuse. The declaration was largely inspired by distressing events involving minors and mass shootings in the state that happened recently. This ban extends for a 30-day period, prohibiting the carriage of firearms on state premises, which includes state buildings, educational institutions, and specific park areas.

Experts claim that this directive seems more of an exploratory exercise to gauge the dynamics around gun control policies rather than a definitive solution to the surging problem of gun violence. In a recent press conference, when asked whether she believes that this will deter criminals from carrying firearms on Albuquerque’s streets, Governor Lujan Grisham responded with a blunt “No.” Although, she implied that this would send a loud and clear message to community members to report crimes and assist law enforcement in exploring distinct approaches to combat crime.

As of Tuesday, no civil penalties have been imposed, but Governor Lujan Grisham clarified it doesn’t implicate that the order won’t be enforced. In response to queries around the order’s constitutionality, Lujan Grisham stated that her belief in its constitutionality fueled the inception of the order. The mandate affects every individual who is a lawful owner of a firearm in New Mexico, as per Stephen Gutowski, a firearms focused correspondent.

However, there are certain exceptions to the rule. Security personnel and other law enforcement officials are exempt. Private property owners who have valid permits can continue to possess firearms, as long as they are stored in a locked box with a trigger lock, or any other safety device that restricts the firearm from being fired. State officials are also directed to conduct monthly scrutinization of firearm dealers.

The ban was put into effect instantly. However, local law enforcement has expressed reluctance about the enforcement action and left the responsibility to the state police. It was clarified that state police will be responsible for handling civil violations, which could potentially incur heavy fines.

Despite the weighty implications, Governor Lujan Grisham instigated this bold directive to tackle widespread gun violence with the hopes of making New Mexico a safer state. The order’s validity for the next 30 days hinges on its ability to survive the anticipated legal challenges and potential backlash from the public and gun rights advocates alike.

While similar restrictive measures have been attempted through legislative proceedings, Governor Lujan Grisham’s directive is considered more far-reaching and audacious. Governors before her, like ex-Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, have also declared gun violence as a public health concern aiming to secure necessary funding for curbing the menace. Last year, New York City even designated Times Square as a “gun-free zone.”

However, the Governor’s directive, as broad and audacious as it might be, also holds the potential for backlash, with concerns that it may in fact lead to diminished support for gun control policies.

While the order has been welcomed and backed by a section of New Mexico’s population and advocacy groups, it has simultaneously stirred up resistance and protest from gun rights groups and their supporters, resulting in overt demonstrations against the order. Adding to the controversy, the order also attracted criticism from some gun restriction advocates.

Governor Lujan Grisham has already started facing legal challenges defending the constitutional validity of her order, with groups arguing she is overstepping the bounds of her executive power and infringing on Second Amendment rights.

While facing these legal obstacles, if Governor Lujan Grisham, succeeds in getting this unconventional order upheld, it could seriously undermine the Supreme Court’s precedent, a development that can be of tremendous significance. However, the likelihood of this happening appears distant at the moment.


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