With public opinion and court rulings working against her, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has abandoned her attempt to prohibit legal gun owners from carrying firearms in Albuquerque and its environs.
Lujan Grisham, on the other hand, is still attempting to create gun-free zones through her executive order.
Under the cover of a “public health order,” the governor ordered a ban on carrying firearms in Albuquerque and the adjacent Bernalillo County on September 8. Local and state officials, however, indicated they would not execute the widely condemned prohibition, and a court issued a temporary restraining order to prevent its execution.
Lujan Grisham revealed her decision in a news release on Friday, although she did not completely abandon gun regulations.
Instead, her updated order continues to prohibit lawful gun owners from carrying guns in playgrounds, parks, or other areas designated for children’s play. Although the statewide directive specifies that this applies in places with high levels of violent crime, in practice, it only applies to Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
Other sections of the directive deal with state entities in charge of corrections and behavioral health.
Lujan Grisham said during a news conference Friday, according to KRQE-TV, that she intends to crack down on drug activities.
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.
According to KRQE-TV, Republican state Sen. Greg Baca, the minority party’s leader in the Senate, said Friday’s announcement had a strongly partisan feel, with not a single Republican invited.
“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.
According to Baca, Republican-led measures to deny bail to criminal defendants and toughen penalties for repeat offenders were not accepted during this year’s parliamentary 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 believes Lujan Grisham is seeking answers in the wrong areas, notably in the case of a kid whose death caused 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.