New Mexico's Gun Ban Failed in Less Than 2 Weeks, But Is It Really Over? Everything You Need to Know


When one hears the words “public health order,” a few policies spring to mind.

Temporary funding for health care providers, perhaps. Or maybe even temporary restrictions on travel in the face of a severely infectious disease.

One would certainly not think of a suspension of the Second Amendment. Yet, on Sept. 8, New Mexico’s Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a public health order to do just that.

In the face of bipartisan pushback and a temporary restraining order, less than two weeks after the ban’s enactment, Grisham announced she would be rolling the policy back.

However, parts of the ban remain in place to this day.

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For those who haven’t been following news of the New Mexico concealed carry ban too closely, here’s a full recap of what has happened, and how things currently stand today.

The Ban

It all started with the tragic death of an 11-year-old boy on Sept. 6. The boy, Froylan Villegas, was caught in the middle of a “suspected road rage shooting” on his way home from a minor league baseball game.

“The vehicle just pulled up on the side of them and started shooting,” family friend Angelica Amaro said according to KRQE-TV.

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Citing the incident, along with a handful of others, Grisham declared a public health emergency the very next day. Then on Sept. 8, after another day had passed, Grisham signed an executive order suspending all “concealed, open carry” licenses in the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.

Grisham spokeswoman Caroline Sweeney told The Associated Press violators of the order were subject to $5,000 fines.

“As I said yesterday, the time for standard measures has passed,” Grisham said. “And when New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game — when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn – something is very wrong.”

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The ban on carrying guns on public property included a few minor exceptions for security guards and law enforcement officers.

Citizens were still allowed to keep their weapons on private property but, if and when they were to bring those weapons into public, were in violation of the new order.

The following directives were also listed in the order:

  • “The Regulation and Licensing Division to conduct monthly inspections of licensed firearm dealers to ensure compliance with all sales and storage laws.”
  • “The Department of Health to compile and issue a comprehensive report on gunshot victims presenting at hospitals in New Mexico, which shall include (if available): demographic data of gunshot victims, including age, gender, race, and ethnicity; data on gunshot victim’s healthcare outcomes; the brand and caliber of the firearm used; the general circumstances leading to the injury; the impact of gunshot victims on New Mexico’s healthcare system; and any other pertinent information.”
  • “The State Police to add officers in Albuquerque with funding for overtime provided.”

Pushback From Both Parties

From the start, local New Mexicans voiced their disapproval of the concealed carry ban.

As reported by KOB-TV, on the very same day Grisham announced the order, more than 100 gun rights supporters — some of them armed — showed up in Albuquerque’s Old Town in protest.

In what came as a shock to many conservatives, those on the political right weren’t the only ones to come out in opposition to the ban.

Perhaps the two most surprising examples of this were California Rep. Ted Lieu and anti-gun activist David Hogg. Both men are well-known for their opposition to Second Amendment rights, and yet they both decried Grisham’s order.

In a commentary piece, The Western Journal’s Bryan Chai offered two theories for why these Democrats and others chose to push back.

“This writer posits two theories… 1. Democrats have some genuinely terrifying (for them) polling data regarding 2024 and beyond. They see that their far-left policies are forcefully turning the tide against their side, and are trying to mitigate that damage with lip service,” Chai wrote.

“2. Gov. Grisham is splintering off to spearhead an even more far-left wing of the Democrat party, and the old far-left stalwarts are calling her out on it (think of how many modern moderates have been vilified by the left as it kept moving further in that direction. Same idea.)”

Local Law Enforcement Refused to Enforce the Order

In addition to bi-partisan pushback, many local New Mexico law enforcement officials also opposed the order, refusing to enforce it.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Media were among those refusing to enforce the order, according to the Associated Press.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen also came out firmly against it.

“The temporary ban challenges the foundations of our Constitution, but most importantly, it is unconstitutional,” Allen, a Democrat, said, according to the Washington Examiner.

“My oath was to protect the Constitution, and that is what I will do.”

Calls For Impeachment

Amidst the fallout and pushback, Republican lawmakers in New Mexico, namely state representatives Stefani Lord and John Block, called for the governor’s impeachment on Sept. 9.

New Mexico State Representatives Stefani Lord and John Block Call for Impeachment of Governor Grisham by The Western Journal on Scribd

This sentiment was supported by Tesla founder and X (formerly known as Twitter) owner Elon Musk.

“At risk of stating what should be obvious, deliberately violating the Constitution is next-level illegal,” Musk wrote on X in response to the “public health order.”

“How soon can this person be removed from office?”

In response to the calls for impeachment, on Tuesday, Democratic Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives Brian Egolf declared he would in “no way” support such a movement, per The Hill.

The Restraining Order

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge David Urias, a Biden appointee, issued a temporary restraining order preventing Grisham’s ban from going into full effect.

According to the Washington Examiner, Urias determined the order went against precedent set by the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.

In the 6-3 decision from 2022, the Supreme Court determined New York state restrictions on firearm ownership were in violation of the 14th Amendment.

“To be honest with you, I think you have kind of a hard road here to get up,” Urias told Holly Agajanian, the attorney for Grisham’s office, according to Politico.

Though lauded by many conservatives across the country, Urias’ ban is merely a temporary one.

The court is set to reevaluate the order on Oct. 3, the same day the current restraining order is set to expire, per Politico.

At that time, a final determination on the order and its constitutionality will be made.

An Amended Open Carry Ban is Still in Place Today

In the face of the restraining order and universal pushback, Grisham announced her decision to scrap parts of the concealed carry ban on Friday.

However, the order was not scrapped completely.

Some temporary gun restrictions still remain in place. Perhaps most notably, firearms are still “banned” from being carried at parks and playgrounds in both Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.

“Provisions in the updated public health order issued Friday include… Removing the previous provision around firearms and replacing it with a provision that temporarily suspends the carrying of firearms at parks and playgrounds in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County,” a Friday news release from Grisham’s office reads.

In response, some conservative critics of the order have pointed out that potential mass shooters will obviously ignore the rule.

As a result, the only guns truly kept out of parks and playgrounds by the updated order will be those that could be used by law-abiding citizens to prevent such tragedies.

“The New Mexico governor was forced to narrow her ‘no gun’ order to just parks and playgrounds….you know, open areas where children are most vulnerable,” the National Police Association’s Betsy Brantner Smith wrote.

“This won’t stop criminals because criminals break the law,” one X user noted. “It only strips law-abiding citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights.”

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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