SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday narrowed an order that broadly suspended the right to carry firearms in and around Albuquerque to apply only to public parks and playgrounds where children and their families gather.
The governor’s announcement Friday came days after a federal judge blocked part of the order with criticism mounting over the Democratic governor’s action and legal challenges by gun-rights advocates.
U.S. District Judge David Urias said Wednesday the order was unconstitutional and granted a temporary restraining order to block the suspension of gun rights until another hearing is held in early October.
Earlier in the week, scores of demonstrators defiantly wore holstered handguns on their hips or carried rifles during a rally by gun-rights advocates.
The second-term governor imposed the emergency public health order Sept. 8 that suspended the right to openly carry or conceal guns in public places based on a statistical threshold for violent crime in Albuquerque and the surrounding area. She cited recent shootings around the state that left children dead, saying something needed to be done.
Republican lawmakers threatened impeachment proceedings and even some influential Democrats and civil rights leaders warned that the move could do more harm than good to overall efforts to ease gun violence.
State Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced he could not defend the 30-day prohibition against carrying firearms in and around Albuquerque, widening the divide between the state’s top-ranked elected Democrats.
The local Catholic archbishop has been among the few joining longtime gun-control advocates in support of the order.
New Mexico is an open carry state, so the governor’s order affects anyone in Bernalillo County who can legally own a gun, with some exceptions. Bernalillo is the state’s most populous county and home to Albuquerque.