New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said her state is temporarily suspending open and concealed carry of firearms in Albuquerque and the surrounding county for 30 days, describing the unusual move as a necessary response to gun violence, the Washington Post reports. “Gun violence is an epidemic in America, and I’m done letting it be an epidemic anywhere in my state,” said Lujan Grisham, who won a second term last year. “Enough is enough.” Lujan Grisham anticipates legal challenges. Some other officials in the state quickly criticized the move and suggested it was unconstitutional. She defended the step as vitally necessary for public safety. The governor said the suspension was a civil order and would be enforced by the state police, rather than any local law enforcement agency. The people who violate the measure would face fines. Albuquerque, the state’s most populous city with more than half a million residents, has endured a painful increase in gun violence. In each of the last two years, the city set records in terms of homicides.
Albuquerque is among many communities that have seen a decrease in homicides, though killings in the city are higher than a few years ago. There were 76 homicide victims in the city through Friday, down from 93 victims at the same point last year but higher than the 50 victims through that period in 2019. Lujan Grisham’s announcement came soon after an 11-year-old boy in Albuquerque was shot and killed in an incident that police said appeared to involve an act of road rage. The boy’s family was leaving a Minor League Baseball game on Wednesday when a person or people in another car fired more than a dozen bullets at them, killing the child and critically injuring his aunt. “I lost an 11-year-old boy to road rage at a baseball game,” Lujan Grisham said. “That is untenable and must immediately end.” She also cited a 5-year-old killed in August and a 13-year-old killed in July. A member of the Albuquerque City Council called the suspension an unconstitiutional “overreach of governmental powers.” The top Republican in the state Senate sharply criticized the governor, saying she was going after “law-abiding citizens with an unconstitutional gun order.” “Tragically, this is what we have come to expect from an administration that refuses to take responsibility for the crime epidemic gripping our state,” said Sen. Greg Baca. “It is time for the governor to stop pointing fingers and admit that her soft-on-crime approach has failed and put the safety of all New Mexicans in great jeopardy.”