New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “temporary” public health emergency on gun violence in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County will remain in place for at least another month after she extended her order on Friday, which includes her revised ban on open and concealed carry in parks and playgrounds.
The ban will last until at least December 1st, though it’s quite possible that Grisham will renew the order again at the end of this month, especially since there’s been no real improvement in crime stats in the Albuquerque area.
In a statement, the Governor said work, especially by law enforcement, is yielding real results. But, added “now is no time to slow down, and we will continue our efforts to eradicate gun violence.”
According to the Governor’s office, local authorities have seized 86 guns and arrested more than 1,400 people in Bernalillo County since the original order was issued.
On September 7th, Lujan Grisham declared a state of public emergency and implemented a controversial ban on publicly carrying guns in Bernalillo County.
After legal challenges, the broad ban was quickly changed and narrowed to parks and playgrounds.
Other than addressing gun violence, the order would also test school wastewater for fentanyl and waive social service permission to book juveniles into jail.
In a statement sent to KUNM, spokesperson Maddy Hayden said 7 of the 29 young people detained in the month of October wouldn’t have been before the executive order was issued.
Note the metrics that Grisham’s using: guns seized and arrests made, both things that would have happened even if the governor hadn’t declared a state of emergency over “gun violence.” Notably, Grisham’s office didn’t announce any citations for carrying at a park or playground, though if that was really the problem she declared it to be you’d think there would have been at least one incident she could point to.
The governor was also mum about whether or not there’s been a substantial reduction in violent crime during the two months that her public health order has been in effect. Crime typically spikes during summer months, so we’d expect to see a drop in crime this time of year regardless of any impact the governor’s order might have had, but apparently she didn’t have any eye-popping statistics to cite despite the fact that homicides were already trending down when she first declared the state of emergency in early September. As KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reported just a few days before the governor made her declaration:
The Albuquerque Police Department has reported an 11% decrease in homicides for the month of August 2023 compared to August 2022. As of August 2023, APD reports 74 homicides for the month of August compared to 90 homicides in August 2022.
According to the latest homicide statistics from the APD, there have been 85 homicide victims this year through October 27th, a reduction compared to the 109 victims reported during the same time period last year, but not a notable decrease since the public health order took effect. In fact, there were five homicides in the city in August, seven in September, and five in October, so the health order hasn’t accelerated the decline at all.
If the additional police presence in the city and county leads to a reduction in crime, great. That’s not the part of the governor’s public health order that most folks find objectionable. It’s patently obvious, however, that neither concealed carry in general nor carry in parks and playground specifically is adding to the city’s crime concerns, and there’s no reason for Grisham to keep the ban in place other than her own anti-gun ideology and thirst for authority.