Federal judge won’t block New Mexico’s limited gun ban

A limited suspension of the right to carry guns at public parks and playgrounds in Albuquerque, New Mexico, can remain in place after a federal judge rejected a challenge Wednesday to block the public health order.

The decision marks a victory for Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who issued the order last month after children had been killed in recent shootings, including an 11-year old boy who was fatally shot outside a minor league baseball stadium.

“These gun-related deaths and injuries have resulted in devastating physical and emotional consequences for individuals, families and communities throughout the state,” Grisham wrote in the order.   

The order by U.S. District Judge David Urias turned down a request from gun rights activists who sought to suspend the temporary ban, arguing that it deprives residents of their 2nd Amendment rights to carry. But the ruling means the order can remain in place as lawsuits make their way through the courts.

Judge Urias had initially blocked part of the public health order that suspended the right to carry guns in most public places across New Mexico’s largest metro area. But the current version is limited to public parks and playgrounds.  

The firearms suspension still allows people with concealed carry permits to transport guns to some places, like gun ranges or gun stores — provided the firearm is equipped with a trigger lock or another mechanism that prevents accidental discharge. Violators could face “civil administrative penalties” that include fines of up to $5,000.