New Mexico Public Parks Affirm Right to Carry Firearms in Recent Federal Ruling
A US District Court judge, Kea Riggs, has reaffirmed her decision to block portions of a public health order from New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The order aimed to suspend the right to carry firearms in many public parks in the Albuquerque area. Appeals are pending before a higher court, adding a layer of complexity to the ongoing legal battle.
Judge Riggs’s Monday order denied the governor’s request to maintain a temporary ban on firearms in certain public places in greater Albuquerque, including most public parks.
Riggs had previously argued that Governor Lujan Grisham failed to demonstrate a historical tradition of banning firearms in such areas, responding to a lawsuit filed by Torrance County resident James Springer, a plaintiff representing gun rights advocates.
Springer’s attorney, A. Blair Dunn, applauded the judge’s order, emphasizing that such firearm restrictions were not contemplated under the Second Amendment.
The legal landscape saw a previous ruling by US District Judge David Urias favoring the governor last year. Urias rejected a request from other gun rights advocates to block temporary firearm restrictions.
It is probable that the divergent rulings will be harmonized through a resolution process at the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals situated in Denver.
New Mexico’s Appeal Process Confidence
Governor Lujan Grisham’s spokesperson, Maddy Hayden, expressed disagreement with Judge Riggs’s opinion, citing case law and historical evidence supporting the constitutionality of the temporary restrictions imposed by the public health order. The governor remains confident in the ongoing appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The governor invoked emergency orders last year in response to a surge in gun violence, including the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy. Gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association and Republican state legislators, are urging the New Mexico Supreme Court to block the orders.
While the majority of public health orders remain intact, including firearm dealer inspections and reporting on gunshot victims, Lujan Grisham is actively pushing for legislative proposals on gun control and enhanced penalties for violent crime during the current 30-day legislative session.
On Tuesday, a proposal to strengthen New Mexico’s red-flag gun law advanced in its first House committee hearing, supported by Democrats and contested by Republicans pursuing impeachment proceedings against the governor for her emergency health orders on gun violence.
The proposed changes aim to expedite procedures for obtaining an extreme risk order and expand the range of people who can petition to temporarily remove guns.