A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Governor of New Mexico’s controversial suspension of gun carrying rights after several groups challenged the order in court.
District Court Judge David Urias said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency order banning members of the public from carrying firearms in Albuquerque and the surrounding county went against a US Supreme Court ruling that people have the right to carry a gun outside their homes for self defence.
The Democratic governor on Friday issued the suspension on firearm carry laws to offer a “cooling-off period” to address the state’s high rates of gun crime after several children – including a five-year-old girl – were fatally shot.
While gun control campaigners branded the move “courageous” and necessary after an 11-year-old boy was killed last week in an apparent road rage incident, it provoked a fierce backlash from Republicans and some Democrats who said it was unconstitutional.
Gun-wielding firearms owners have since held several rallies in Albuquerque protesting what they believe is a violation of their rights.
Meanwhile, several Republican legislators have said they plan to have Ms Lujan Grisham impeached.
Republican Representative John Block, who is working to impeach Ms Lujan Grisham, told The Telegraph: “Right now, our governor is a domestic enemy, against our Constitution and our rights. So it’s my duty to bring forward articles of impeachment and hold her accountable.
“If I wasn’t doing that. I would be in dereliction of my duty that I swore on the Bible that I will uphold.”
Blowback also came from local law enforcement officials who said they would not enforce the order and the state’s Democratic attorney general, Raúl Torrez, who told Ms Lujan Grisham he could not legally defend it as he “doesn’t believe it passes constitutional muster”.
During Wednesday’s hearing at Albuquerque federal courthouse, Mr Urias said: “They just want the right to carry their guns”.
“To be honest with you, I think you have kind of a hard road here to get up,” he told Holly Agajanian, the attorney for the governor’s office.
Ms Agajanian urged the judge to keep the order in place for the 30 days, saying the governor “rejects the notion that she can’t even try to keep the streets safe”.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs have heavily referenced the precedent set by a 2022 Supreme Court case – New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen – that in effect bolstered open-carry laws.
The temporary restraining order will remain in place until a further hearing to assess the order on 3 October.
But Ms Lujan Grisham was defiant on Wednesday morning. Speaking on Good Morning America, she said: “I will keep doing everything that’s based in science and fact and public safety efforts to clean up our cities to make this the safest state in America. I will not stop until that’s done.”
Gun violence kills around 500 people a year in New Mexico, which ranks sixth among US states for gun deaths per capita, according to gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Albuquerque is among the 10 most dangerous US cities, based on FBI violent crime data. The Telegraph approached Ms Lujan Grisham for comment.
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