A Public Service of Santa Fe Community College
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ABQ, Bernalillo Police Won't Enforce Governor's Public Firearm Ban

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Friday announces the public health emergency on gun violence with law enforcement officials on hand.
Kevin Meerschaert
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Friday announces the public health emergency on gun violence with law enforcement officials on hand.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen says he will not enforce Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ban on open carry or concealed firearms in Albuquerque and the county saying such a move would be unconstitutional. Police Chief Harold Medina says he won’t enforce the ban either.   

Allen held a press conference on Monday and said he can’t in good conscience prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying a gun in public since they have the right to do so.    

He also says the ban could put his deputies and others in danger.

“I do not want to have political violence toward my deputies and in Bernalillo County. My job is to keep the peace and to make sure the citizens of Bernalillo County are safe and I do not believe this order will help me do so,” he said. “I’m a law enforcement professional. This order will not do anything to curb gun violence other than to punish law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self defense.”

      The governor says she expected legal challenges but was compelled to act because of recent shootings, including the death of an 11-year-old boy outside of Isotopes Park last week.

A gun rights group has already filed a lawsuit and Republican State lawmakers say they’ll do the same. 

      Lujan Grisham said state police would be responsible for enforcing what amounts to civil violations. 

She says the gun violence constitutes a health emergency which gives her the authority to make such a move.

“Guns are the leading cause of death for children aged one to 19 in New Mexico. From 2017 to 2021 143 children were killed by guns,” she said. “That’s nearly three children we lose every month in the state of New Mexico. In 2022, 12% of gun offenders in Albuquerque were under the age of 18.”     

 The restriction is tied to a threshold for violent crime rates currently only met by the metropolitan Albuquerque area. Police and licensed security guards are exempt from the temporary ban.

Violators could face civil penalties and a fine of up to $5,000,        

       Under the order, residents still can transport guns to some private locations, such as a gun range or gun store, provided the firearm has a trigger lock or some other container or mechanism making it impossible to discharge.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.