September 13, 2023

Federal judge blocks ban of guns in public in Bernalillo County

On Wednesday, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order barring enforcement of the portions of a public health order that banned firearms from public places in Bernalillo County.

The TRO went into effect immediately and lasts for 14 days.

Five of six federal cases had a joint hearing Wednesday afternoon at Federal District Court in Albuquerque with Judge David H. Urias presiding. The cases were asking for a temporary restraining order issued against Lujan Grisham about the parts of a public health order that banned firearms in Albuquerque for 30 days beginning Sept. 8.

“The court agrees with all the parties that gun violence is a significant problem for the state of New Mexico, and particularly in Albuquerque and the County of Bernalillo,” Urias said. “In particular the court is, as many people are, have been extremely affected by the deaths of children to gun violence in this state.”

The judge discussed the civil rights issue, not the gun violence.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen announced Monday that his office would not enforce the order. On Tuesday, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez sent Lujan Grisham a letter stating he would not represent her in these cases.

Lujan Grisham was represented by New Mexico Governor’s Office Chief General Counsel Holly Agajanian.

The case not heard Wednesday was a case brought by James Springer against Lujan Grisham, New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Patrick M. Allen and their respective offices.

These cases include the civil rights class action lawsuit filed by Bernalillo County resident Shawn Blas against Lujan Grisham and New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Patrick M. Allen.

The Springer case was set to be heard Wednesday with the other cases but has since been vacated following Springer’s attorneys requesting Urias to recuse himself from the Springer case.

Two of the attorneys sued Urias for alleged legal malpractice of a client.

The Springer case was filed Sept. 12. 

The TRO decision in Wednesday’s hearing was not the last decision to be made in the case.

Later this month, there will be a hearing to discuss the cases with preliminary injunctions.