top of page

New Mexico Governor's Emergency Order Bans Firearms, Ignites Constitutional Debate

Albuquerque, NM — In an unprecedented move that has stoked the fires of an already contentious national debate on gun control, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico enacted an emergency order banning the carrying of firearms throughout Bernalillo County. The order, which includes Albuquerque, the state's most populous city, was announced on Thursday and cited public health concerns. The measure comes in the wake of a tragic shooting outside a baseball game in Albuquerque, which resulted in the death of a child.

Governor Grisham was unambiguous about the rationale behind the 30-day prohibition, from which police and licensed security guards are exempt. "When New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game — when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn — something is very wrong," she said in an official statement.

Her decision, however, has caused a rift among public officials and triggered impassioned reactions from both sides of the aisle. The governor, aware of the potential backlash, preemptively addressed her critics during a news conference on Friday. "I welcome the debate and fight about how to make New Mexicans safer," she said.

County Sheriff John Allen voiced his reservations about the constitutionality of the measure, although he pledged to enforce it temporarily. "While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold," he explained. Allen also expressed concerns about the potential risks of "prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense."

The Governor's emergency order has polarized New Mexico's political landscape. State Senator Greg Baca, the senior-ranking Republican, criticized Grisham’s decision, saying, “A child is murdered, the perpetrator is still on the loose, and what does the governor do? She targets law-abiding citizens with an unconstitutional gun order."

On the flip side, gun control advocates have praised the move. Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, commended Grisham's swift response: "If it saves one life, then it’s worth doing," she told the Associated Press.

This is not the first time Governor Grisham has taken decisive action on gun control. Since her tenure began in 2019, she has signed several bills restricting access to firearms. Notably, a "red flag" law enacted in 2020 allows local law enforcement to confiscate guns from individuals deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

However, the latest emergency order is arguably her most aggressive measure to date and has put the spotlight squarely on the perpetual tension between public safety and constitutional rights. As both sides dig in for what promises to be a contentious legal and ideological battle, the eyes of the nation are on New Mexico, where the struggle to balance security and liberty is being tested in real-time.

Whether this emergency measure will serve as a catalyst for broader gun control reform or become a cautionary tale of government overreach remains to be seen. But for now, the order stands as a controversial, yet determined, response to a crisis that has shaken the state to its core.


Top Stories

bottom of page