Judge Rejects Preliminary Injunctions to Halt Enforcement of New Mexico’s Gun Prohibition

New Mexico District Court Judge David Urias rejected a preliminary injunction to halt the current version of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health order that prohibited guns in Bernalillo County public parks and playgrounds.

New Mexico’s original public health order banned the carrying of all firearms in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County area. This order was enacted in violation of the Supreme Court’s landmark Bruen decision.

Grisham asserted that she had the power to infringe on constitutional liberties if it was in the interest of public health. 

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) refused to enforce the ban due to constitutional concerns.

The ban would also compel several pro-Second Amendment organizations to file a lawsuit calling for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a preliminary injunction (PI) against the Governor’s anti-gun order.

New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez refused to stand by the Governor and her public health order because he believed that the order lacked constitutional justification. The Governor would go ahead with enforcing the order irrespective of the constitutional pushback against it. 

All the cases going against the order were heard in front of District Court Judge David Urias simultaneously. The Judge subsequently issued a TRO while flirting with the idea of issuing a preliminary injunction, temporarily halting the enforcement of the public health order. The Governor changed her order to make it only applicable to public parks and “public areas provided for children to play in.” 

Despite the governor’s maneuvers, the plaintiffs continued to proceed with their cases.

During the preliminary injunction hearing, the Judge asked if the plaintiffs still had a case since the Governor modified the public health order. All the plaintiffs wanted to move forward, declaring that their cases were not moot. On top of that, the defendants told the court that the Governor still had plans of prolonging the public health order. Judge Urias extended the TRO while considering the preliminary injunction. 

Right after the hearing was conducted, the Governor would once again modify the order. The order still bans firearms in parks and playgrounds but took “public areas provided for children to play in.” 

The Judge recently issued a decision on the motion for a preliminary injunction. The Judge ruled that the plaintiffs had succeeded with respect to the merits of the case, which is the most important requirement for securing a preliminary injunction.

The majority of parties in this case expect it to be appealed. 

The litigation process can be quite cumbersome. In fact, it’s not the most optimal for pro-gunners to achieve long-lasting change. That said, it should not be fully discarded. We have to remember that securing gun rights can be achieved through electioneering, litigation, and lobbying. 

There’s many ways to skin this cat. 

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