A federal judge cleared the way Wednesday for enforcing a public health order that suspends the right to carry a firearm in public parks and playgrounds in New Mexico’s largest metropolitan area.
U.S. District Judge David Urias’ order rejects a request from gun rights advocates to block temporary gun restrictions as legal challenges move forward.
This is a victory for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her advocacy for temporary gun restrictions in response to recent shootings in the state that killed children.
The impasse is just one of many following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year expanding gun rights, as leaders of politically liberal states are exploring new avenues of restrictions.
In New Mexico, attempted restrictions have sparked a fury of public protests, prompted Republicans to call for the governor’s impeachment and widened divisions among top Democratic officials.
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, continued to argue this week that certain sensitive public spaces should be prohibited from carrying open or concealed firearms.
Gun rights advocates have filed a series of lawsuits and court motions aimed at blocking his order’s restrictions, arguing that even a new, scaled-back version would strip Albuquerque-area residents of the right to carry in public to defend himself under the 2nd Amendment.
But in denying the request for an injunction, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated a substantial chance of success in court. He rejected arguments that restrictions on guns in “sensitive” locations should apply only to locations for essential government functions, like polling places, and not playgrounds.
“Given the Supreme Court’s recognition of schools as sensitive places and the apt analogy between schools and playgrounds…the Court finds that the recognition of what constitutes a sensitive place could well be determined also by the type of function taking place there. as if a vulnerable population – such as children – would use such places,” Urias wrote.
Urias also said it seems “plausible, although not certain” that the governor could “demonstrate a national historical tradition of gun restrictions in city public parks.”
The governor’s initial order would have suspended the right to carry guns in most public places in the Albuquerque area, while the current version only applies to public parks and playgrounds, with an exception that ensures access to a municipal shooting range. The restrictions were tied to a statistical threshold for violent crime that applies only to Albuquerque and surrounding areas.
State police are authorized under the order to impose civil penalties and a fine of up to $5,000, but the Albuquerque sheriff and police chief have refused to enforce it.
The rest of the public health order remained intact, including guidelines for monthly inspections of gun dealers statewide, reporting of gunshot victims in New Mexico hospitals, wastewater testing to detect illicit substances in schools, safe surrender programs for gun owners who choose to decommission their firearms. they don’t want it anymore and more.
A temporary restraining order that previously blocked gun restrictions was set to expire late Wednesday.