A federal magistrate will not halt the suspension of the right to carry firearms in certain New Mexico parks and playgrounds.
On Wednesday, a federal magistrate cleared the way for enforcement of a public health order suspending the right to carry firearms in public parks and playgrounds in the largest metropolitan area in New Mexico.
The order by U.S. District Judge David Urias denies a request by gun rights advocates to halt temporary firearms restrictions pending the outcome of legal challenges.
It is a victory for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and her advocacy for temporary gun restrictions in response to recent shootings in which minors were killed throughout the state.
The standoff is one of several that have arisen in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision expanding gun rights last year, as leaders in states with liberal political leanings investigate new avenues for restrictions.
In New Mexico, the attempted restrictions have sparked a firestorm of public protests, prompted Republican demands for the governor’s impeachment, and revealed divisions among the state’s most senior Democratic officials.
This week, Democrat Lujan Grisham continued to argue that some sensitive public spaces should prohibit open or concealed carry of firearms.
Advocates for the right to bear arms in public for self-defense have filed a variety of lawsuits and court motions to block the restrictions in her order, contending that even a new, scaled-back version would violate the 2nd Amendment rights of Albuquerque-area residents.
In denying a request for an injunction, however, Judge Urias determined that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success in court.
The initial version of the governor’s order would have suspended gun-carrying rights in most public places in the Albuquerque area, whereas the current version only applies to public parks and playgrounds and guarantees access to a municipal shooting range park. The restrictions were based on a statistical threshold for violent crime that only applies to Albuquerque and its environs.
Under the order, state police have the authority to impose civil penalties and fines of up to $5,000, but the sheriff and Albuquerque’s police superintendent refused to enforce it.
The remainder of the public health order has remained intact, including directives for monthly inspections of firearms dealers across the state, reports on gunshot victims in New Mexico hospitals, wastewater testing for illegal substances at schools, and safe-surrender programs for gun owners who choose to decommission firearms they no longer want.