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Judge Halts New Mexico Governor’s Gun Restrictions For Now

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily halted a 30-day order from New Mexico’s governor suspending the open and concealed carrying of guns in the Albuquerque area, a move that prompted bipartisan disapproval, Politico reports. The executive order by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday drew extensive blowback from elected Republicans for violating gun rights as well as some Democrats and gun control advocates who questioned its constitutionality. Local law enforcement officials said they would not enforce the order, and the state’s Democratic attorney general, Raúl Torrez, told Lujan Grisham that he could not legally defend it while also questioning its effectiveness. She based the ban on a public health emergency she’d declared over gun violence. In a hearing, U.S. District Judge David Urias, indicated that the numerous Supreme Court precedents on the Second Amendment suggested that the governor’s order would cause irreparable harm to citizens seeking to exercise their gun rights. Thus, he had to block the ban.

Lawyers for the various gun rights groups argued that Lujan Grisham and her administration went far beyond constitutional powers in issuing the order. “The Second Amendment has no exception. It has no part of it that says as long as the state governor can issue an emergency, you’re allowed to take our citizens’ firearms,” said Jason Bowles, an attorney representing the National Association for Gun Rights. “There’s no historical evidence of that. There’s no support for it.” On numerous occasions, the lawyers cite in their argument as precedent New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, a 2022 Supreme Court case that boosted open-carry laws and specified that Second Amendment restrictions must mesh consistently with historical U.S. rules on firearms. Criticizing the Bruen decision, Holly Agajanian, the attorney for the governor’s office defending the rule, said that Lujan Grisham was acting out of an emergency and that the court should let the 30-day order play out to see what happened. The court will hold a hearing to evaluate the merits of the rule on Oct. 3. The temporary restraining order will extend until then, even though it would normally be limited to 14 days. The extension was accepted by both parties because counsel on both sides did not have availability for a court date within that two-week time frame.


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