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Judge upholds firearm restrictions in Albuquerque amid legal battle

United States: The judge has upheld her decision to stay in effect the portions of a public health order from New Mexico’s governor that would suspend the right to carry firearms in many parts of Albuquerque, pending higher court appeals.

Legal Standoff Over Firearm Restrictions

Albuquerque-based Judge Kea Riggs on Monday denied a request by the New Mexico governor to stay in place for now an interim weapons ban at some public places within greater Albuquerque, including the major urban parks.

New Mexico’s Rank in the US News Best State List is currently 46th. All the 50 states are ranked by US News & World Report.

In response to a lawsuit filed by James Springer, a resident of Torrance County, who was a plaintiff in one of several lawsuits brought against the governor by proponents of gun rights, Riggs earlier concluded that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has not yet demonstrated a historical tradition of prohibiting firearms in public parks or similar areas in the past.

“Our position is that’s not something that is contemplated under the Second Amendment,” said Springer’s attorney, A. Blair Dunn, applauding the judge’s order.

Appeals court to reconcile conflicting rulings

Last year, in the pursuit of Victory for the governor, US District Judge Davis Urais ruled in the other direction, rejecting a request from other gun rights advocates to block temporary firearms restrictions while challenges move forward. It will likely fall to the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to reconcile the orders from Urias and Riggs.

“Judge Riggs’ opinion ignores this case law and the massive amount of historical evidence in the record supporting the constitutionality of the temporary restrictions imposed by the public health order,” Hayden said in an email. “We respectfully disagree with the opinion and are confident that our ongoing appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals will be successful.”

The emergency orders were issued last year by Democratic congressman Lujan Grisham, a second-term member, in reaction to a slew of gun-related incidents, which included the shooting death of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball stadium.

Gun rights advocates continue legal fight

Gun rights advocates also are urging the New Mexico Supreme Court to block the orders. The Court recently heard oral arguments in the lawsuit brought by Republican state legislators, the National Rifle Association, and several residents of the Albuquerque area.

The New Mexico Supreme Court is being urged by Gun rights advocates to block the orders. Republican state legislators, the National Rifle Association, and several residents of the Albuquerque area bought in the lawsuit and had an oral argument heard recently by the Court.

Other public health orders like monthly inspection of firearm dealers statewide, reports on gunshot victims at New Mexico Hospitals, and wastewater testing for harmful substances at school will remain intact as usual.

As reported by the Associated Press, Lujan Grisham is supporting a wide range of legislative initiatives on gun control and stiffer penalties for violent crimes during the 30-day parliamentary session, which ends on February 15.

On Tuesday, a red-flag gun proposal to strengthen New Mexico’s red-flag law passed its first House committee hearing, with the Democrats voting for the bill in support of legislators such as state Rep. Christine Chandler from Los Alamos on a party-line vote with four votes Yes and two Votes NO. The two impeachment-seeking Republican lawmakers voted against the bill.

Governor’s ongoing efforts for stricter gun control

New Mexico’s red flag law is aimed at disarming persons who present an immediate danger to themselves or others. The suggested reforms would speed up the processes of delivering “extreme risk” orders to confiscate firearms and widen the range of people who can file such a petition, including healthcare professionals.

Increase in gun-related offenses

As per the Council on Criminal Justice, violent crime rates in the US for 2023 are higher than those that were recorded in 2019. Yet, as indicated by the FBI statistics, violent crime declined by 8% in quarter three of 2023 compared to that period last year. The number of property crimes dropped by 6.3 percent to an all-time low since the statistics became available in 1961.

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