More States Are Banning Firearms At Polling Locations

Due to fears of political violence, an increasing number of states are prohibiting firearms at polling places. For example, alleged threats to election workers and thoroughly non-woke rhetoric from former President Donald Trump and his fans have prompted these states to take such an action 

In the case of New Mexico, during March it became the most recent state to restrict gun rights in locations where people vote or can hand in ballots. In doing so, New Mexico has joined east 21 other states that have similar laws 

The New Mexico law in question is applicable to individuals who are within 100 feet of polling locations and 50 feet of ballot drop boxes. Those who are found in violation of the law could face a petty misdemeanor charge that could be potentially punished with 6 months in jail.

“Our national climate is increasingly polarized,” declared State Rep. Reena Szczepanski, one of key sponsor of this legislation. “Anything we can do to turn the temperature down and allow for the safe operation of our very basic democratic right, voting, is critical.”

The bill features an exception for individuals with concealed carry permits and members of law enforcement. This bill was largely voted on partisan lines, with Republicans in the New Mexico legislature opposing this bill. The principal concern among Republican officials is that they worried this legislation would have gun owners penalized for simply bringing their firearms to polling locations. 

In 2024 alone, other states such as Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia have put forward legislation that would prohibit most firearms in or close to polling places or other places connected to elections. The sick joke here is that the overwhelming majority of gun owners are peaceful, law-abiding people who don’t cause trouble at polling places. 

Nevertheless, tensions are high in US politics, which is going to be exploited by demagogic politicians to justify enormous power grabs. 

It’s a sign of our highly polarized time and should also serve a reminder of how basic freedoms can be stripped almost instantly. 

In moments like these, rationality must win out. We can’t afford to allow emotionalism to dictate our policy making decisions, lest we want the floodgates of tyranny to be fully opened. 


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