State Watch

New Mexico governor temporarily bans guns: What you need to know

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) used a public health order Friday to ban firearms in Albuquerque, a move that has garnered widespread criticism from Democrats and Republicans amid concerns that it could violate the Second Amendment.

What does the order do?

Grisham’s declaration bans the carrying of firearms — both open and concealed carry — in parts of the state that meet a specific threshold of violent crime. Only the city of Albuquerque meets that threshold.

It applies to all public places, including government buildings and in open spaces. It will expire after 30 days unless Grisham opts to extend it.

Police and security personnel are exempt from the firearms ban.

Grisham cited a recent spate of shootings in the city, including one that killed an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball game and a series of shootings targeting Muslim men last month.

“As I said yesterday, the time for standard measures has passed,” she said in a statement. “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.”

Will it be enforced?

Local police have come out against the measure. Both the Albuquerque Police Department and the local county sheriff have vowed not to enforce it.

Sheriff John Allen, a Democrat, said he did not feel comfortable enforcing a measure that could violate the Second Amendment.

“While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold,” Allen said in a statement Friday. “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.”

Allen expanded on his concerns in a press conference Monday.

“This order will not do anything to curb gun violence other than punish law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense,” he said. “I do not want to have political violence towards my deputies or here in Bernalillo County. I have enough violence here.”

A Second Amendment rights advocacy group has already filed suit against the measure. The National Association for Gun Rights cited a previous Supreme Court opinion that struck down a gun control measure in New York last year.

“The State must justify the Carry Prohibition by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” according to the suit. “But it is impossible for the State to meet this burden, because there is no such historical tradition of firearms regulation in this Nation.”

Bipartisan backlash

Members of both parties have come out against Grisham’s order, citing similar Second Amendment concerns. 

Beyond the county’s Democratic sheriff, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) — a prominent supporter of gun control reforms — also criticized the move.

“I support gun safety laws. However, this order from the Governor of New Mexico violates the U.S. Constitution,” he said on social media. “No state in the union can suspend the federal Constitution. There is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution.”

A slate of notable Republicans, including multiple GOP presidential candidates have also criticized Grisham for the order, many of them shifting focus to her immigration policy.

“Friendly suggestion to Lujan Grisham on how to *actually* reduce violent crime in your state: focus on sealing your own state’s southern border & stop the virtue signaling elsewhere,” Vivek Ramaswamy said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

In an interview Tuesday, candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Grisham should be “reprimanded” for the move.

“She’s not going to succeed here,” he said. “This is so clearly and blatantly unconstitutional I think it will be knocked down.” 

Grisham has brushed off the criticism and stood by her decision, saying that she does have the right to pass the order.

“I welcome the debate and fight about how to make New Mexicans safer,” she said at a news conference Friday, later adding on social media that “conceal and open carry are state laws that I have jurisdiction over.”

Tags Albuquerque Albuquerque Police Department Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office Chris Christie Gun control John Allen Law enforcement Michelle Lujan Grisham National Association for Gun Rights New Mexico second amendment security personnel shooting Ted Lieu Vivek Ramaswamy