With the twin tides of public opinion and legal decisions running against her, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has scrapped her plan to ban legal gun owners from carrying firearms in Albuquerque and its surroundings.
However, Lujan Grisham is still trying to create gun-free zones through her executive order.
On Sept. 8, under the guise of a “public health order,” the governor issued a ban on carrying guns in the city of Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County. However, local and state officials said they would not enforce the widely denounced ban, and a court issued a temporary restraining order against its implementation.
Lujan Grisham announced her decision in a news release on Friday, but did not renounce gun restrictions altogether.
Instead, her amended order still bans legal gun owners from carrying firearms at playgrounds and parks or other places set aside for children to play. Although the statewide order notes this applies in areas of specified levels of violent crime, as a practical matter it only covers Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
Other parts of the order address state agencies responsible for corrections and behavioral health.
According to KRQE-TV, Lujan Grisham said at a news conference Friday that she wants to crack down on drug activity.
Lujan Grisham said that police in “all jurisdictions” should “coordinate their efforts to make sure open, illicit, substance abuse, drug use is being addressed.”
New Mexico “cannot allow illicit [drug] activity to occur,” she said.
“The state has not actively been dealing with that accountability for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is treatment, incarceration, situations where we can’t get people booked; we don’t have enough prosecutors, any number of barriers,” she said.
Republican state Sen. Greg Baca, leader of the minority party in the Senate, said Friday’s announcement had a decidedly partisan tinge, with not a single Republican invited, according to KRQE-TV.
“It was noticeable who was attending the press conference. I know that myself and I really have no knowledge of any other Republican that was invited to the press conference,” he said.
Baca was also angered that the government cast partisan blame during the media event when she announced her new executive order.
“Too many members, not all of them, Republicans both in Congress, elected leaders in the country, and our own statewide party, offer no solutions to addressing public safety in our state,” she said.
Baca said GOP-led initiatives to deny bail to criminal suspects and get tougher with repeat offenders were not adopted in this year’s legislative session.
“We need everybody involved. What you saw today at the press conference was one side, that leaves out half of the state out of the discussion and we think that’s wrong,” he said.
He said Lujan Grisham is looking in the wrong places for answers, particularly in the case of a child whose killing triggered the initial order.
“The focus has been, now, on guns. We need to be focusing on the individual who murdered this child. Where is the outcry to find this child’s killer? I have not heard that from the executive branch,” he said.