Governor extends gun violence order and adds provisions

Oct. 6—Just days after a federal judge extended a temporary block on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s revised public health order prohibiting firearms in parks, playgrounds and other public places where children go in Albuquerque, the governor announced she is renewing the order.

The governor also added a provision that tasks the state Department of Public Safety with organizing safe surrender events — also known as gun buybacks — in Albuquerque, Española, and Las Cruces within a month.

Maddy Hayden, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the renewed order will remain in effect until Nov. 3.

The governor’s move Friday also comes one day after police arrested two teenagers on suspicion of possessing guns at West Mesa High School in Albuquerque, a situation that led to a brief shelter in place. No one was hurt in the incident.

“The fact of the matter is that New Mexicans are still being threatened, injured and killed by firearms,” Lujan Grisham said in a news release issued Friday afternoon.

She added: “We’re not letting up, and I’m continuing to make investments that drive down violence in our communities and protect our children.”

U.S. District Judge David Herrera Urias issued an initial restraining order last month in response to several lawsuits challenging the governor’s 30-day gun ban. Earlier this week, he delayed a decision on whether to order a preliminary injunction against the edict until next week.

Lujan Grisham first announced a gun ban, restricting the right to carry open or concealed firearms in all public places in Albuquerque and the surrounding area for 30 days, as part of a public health order in early September.

That move came shortly after the shooting death of an 11-year-old boy in Albuquerque. Lujan Grisham argued she was trying to draw attention to the issue of gun violence in New Mexico.

Critics said the order was unconstitutional and a number of lawsuits were filed contesting it almost immediately.

State Attorney General Raúl Torrez said he wouldn’t defend the governor’s order against court challenges and some law enforcement agencies said they would not enforce it.

Her decision led to a Republican-led resolution in the U.S. House condemning the governor and an effort by some Republican state lawmakers to impeach her. The statewide effort seems to have stalled, as no Democrats have joined Republicans, who are in the minority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, to support the move.

Lujan Grisham revised the initial order a week after it was issued, limiting the gun ban to areas that draw children and families. She said she expected legal challenges.

Others said the governor had no right to include gun violence as a public health challenge worthy of an executive order.

Patrick Allen, secretary of the state Department of Health, said in the news release issued by the Governor’s Office, “Gun violence is a leading cause of death among young people in New Mexico. That should horrify all of us.”

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