UNITED STATES NEWS

New Mexico governor’s suspension of right to public carry ignites protests, lawsuits and debates

Sep 12, 2023, 9:15 AM | Updated: 1:38 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some demonstrators defiantly wore holstered handguns on their hips or carried assault rifles in a Tuesday rally by gun-rights advocates, protesting New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s surprise order to suspend the right to carry firearms after two children were recently killed in separate shootings.

The rally unfolded on Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza shortly before New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced he cannot defend the governor’s public health order on firearms, exposing a divide between the state’s top-ranked elected Democrats.

In his letter to Lujan Grisham, Torrez said that although he agrees a debate is needed on the impact of gun violence, it cannot be rebranded a public health emergency to justify a blanket 30-day prohibition against carrying firearms in and around Albuquerque. He urged the governor to consider whether her time would be better spent on developing comprehensive legislation.

“While I understand that frustration may have led you to undertake a unilateral approach to addressing the heart-wrenching challenge of gun violence in our community, I urge you to reconsider this course of action,” said Torrez.

Many of the 70 people gathered in Albuquerque Tuesday wore T-shirts in support of the right to bear arms, while others waved American flags and held signs reading: “Do Not Comply.”

Alicia Otero, whose son was killed in 2021, held a poster that included a photo of 24-year-old Elias Otero and the words “I blame the shooter! Not the gun!”

“I’m here because I’m against gun violence and I’ve been crying to our governor to make changes and to hold the offenders accountable and now that she made this new order, it’s unfair to us because we’re scared,” she said. “After things like this happened, we need to protect ourselves and now she’s taking that away from us.”

Otero said law abiding citizens are being punished by the order she said will have no effect on curbing crimes like the one her family suffered.

The governor issued her order on Friday suspending the open and concealed carry of guns in most public places. Lujan Grisham said she was compelled to act because of recent killings, including the death of an 11-year-old outside a minor league baseball stadium last week and the August shooting death of 13-year-old Amber Archuleta in Taos County.

Amber’s father, Joshua Archuleta, applauded the order, saying his family was destroyed.

“We are looking for answers and solutions to this issue,” he said in a Monday statement.

The Catholic Church is among the few who have joined longtime gun-control advocates in support of the order. The Most Rev. John C. Wester, archbishop of the Diocese of Santa Fe, insisted the governor is “not attacking the Second Amendment.”

“I hope to hear more of an outcry over an eleven-year-old boy killed by a bullet fired in a road rage incident than over the right to carry a gun,” he said.

Lujan Grisham defended her order as necessary, and rebuffed calls for her impeachment by Republican lawmakers, who have called on her to rescind it.

“As governor, it’s my job to take action and put New Mexicans’ safety first — not complain about problems we are elected to solve,” she said in a social media post over the weekend on X, formerly known as Twitter.

But even some influential Democrats and civil rights leaders typically aligned with the governor’s progressive political agenda warned that her well-intended move could do more harm than good to overall efforts to stem gun violence.

Several lawsuits have been filed, along with requests to block the order. No hearings have been scheduled yet in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen and the police chief in Albuquerque said they won’t enforce the order, saying it violates constitutional rights. State Police spokesman Ray Wilson said late Monday that no citations had been issued by his agency.

Allen is among top law enforcement officials and prosecutors who have have said they weren’t consulted before Lujan Grisham sprung on them an order that even she admits will be ignored by criminals.

“It is quite irritating for me to see how this this 30-day ban completely overshadowed the robust conversations that we had with the governor and the office on what we are going to do to curb gun violence,” Allen said. “We had arguments. But again, we had solutions.”

___

Associated Press writers Anita Snow and Terry Tang in Phoenix, Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, and Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico, contributed to this story.

United States News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

1 hour ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Why AP called South Carolina for Trump: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared Donald Trump the winner of the South Carolina primary as soon as polls closed on Saturday. The race call was based on a comprehensive survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters that showed him defeating Nikki Haley by wide margins in her home state. Declaring a winner as […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Former NFL player Richard Sherman arrested on suspicion of DUI, authorities in Washington state say

SEATTLE (AP) — Former NFL player Richard Sherman was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Washington State Patrol. No other details about the arrest were immediately available, said Trooper Rick Johnson, a patrol spokesperson. A spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor’s Office said nothing had been sent to […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Lithium ion battery caused fatal fire in New York City apartment building, officials say

NEW YORK (AP) — A lithium ion battery sparked a fire that killed one person and injured 17 others at a New York City apartment building, fire officials said Saturday. Friday’s two-alarm fire began just after 2 p.m. on the third floor of a six-story building in Harlem. New York Police Department video shows firefighters […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Federal prosecutors accuse a New Mexico woman of fraud in oil and gas royalty case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico businesswoman is accused of defrauding the U.S. government and two Native American tribes of taxes and royalties due to them for oil and gas that her companies extracted from leased federal and tribal lands. Federal prosecutors announced this week that Teresa McCown recently was indicted by a grand […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

New Mexico governor’s suspension of right to public carry ignites protests, lawsuits and debates