(Headline USA) New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in public in and around Albuquerque drew an immediate court challenge from a gun-rights group Saturday.
The National Association for Gun Rights and Foster Haines, a member who lives in Albuquerque, filed documents in U.S. District Court in New Mexico suing Lujan Grisham and seeking an immediate block to the implementation of her order.
The governor, a Democrat, said the 30-day suspension, enacted as an emergency public health measure, would apply in most public places, from city sidewalks to parks.
She said state police would be responsible for enforcing what amount to civil violations and carry a fine of up to $5,000.
Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman, who once served as a Democratic party leader and was appointed by Lujan Grisham, on Saturday joined Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Harold Medina saying they wouldn’t enforce the order.
“As an officer of the court, I cannot and will not enforce something that is clearly unconstitutional,” said Bregman, the top prosecutor in the Albuquerque area. “This office will continue to focus on criminals of any age that use guns in the commission of a crime.”
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said he was uneasy about how gun owners might respond.
“I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts,” Allen said, “as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense.”
Medina noted that Albuquerque police made more than 200 arrests of suspects in killings in the last two years. Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said enforcing the order also could put Albuquerque police in a difficult position with a U.S. Department of Justice police reform settlement.
Levinson told The Associated Press Friday over the phone that Lujan Grisham would draw a court fight, saying the governor was “bumping up against the Second Amendment, no doubt about it.”
“And we have a very conservative Supreme Court that is poised to expand Second Amendment rights,” Levinson added.
Dudley Brown, founder and president of the Colorado-based gun-rights group, called the governor’s action unconstitutional.
“She needs to be held accountable for stripping the God-given rights of millions away with the stroke of a pen,” he said in a statement announcing the lawsuit and request for a restraining order. A court hearing was not immediately set.
The top Republican in the New Mexico Senate, Greg Baca of Belen, also denounced Lujan Grisham’s order as an infringement on the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. Dan Lewis, who serves on the nonpartisan Albuquerque City Council, called the order an unconstitutional edict.
The governor’s order calls for monthly inspections of firearms dealers statewide to ensure compliance with gun laws and for the state Department of Health to compile a report on gunshot victims at hospitals that includes age, race, gender and ethnicity, along with the brand and caliber of firearm involved.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press