A new report released Friday provides new details about gun violence in New Mexico one day after a Native American man was shot during a protest event in Rio Arriba County.
Gun violence has been a hot topic in New Mexico throughout September largely due to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Sept. 8 executive order on the matter.
As part of the order’s directions, the New Mexico Department of Health issued its “Comprehensive Report on Gunshot Victims Presenting at Hospitals in New Mexico” on Friday.
The report was part of Lujan Grisham’s September executive order declaring gun violence a public health emergency. Lujan Grisham had the New Mexico Department of Health analyze data related to gun violence and fatalities including both homicides and suicides*.
“The findings of this report are clear: New Mexico faces an urgent firearm-related injury crisis,” New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Patrick Allen said. “The alarming surge in firearm-related injuries and deaths revealed in this report demands our immediate attention. We must work together as a community to implement effective interventions that will save lives and reduce the economic burden on our healthcare system.”
The report’s findings show that firearm deaths in New Mexico rose by 87 percent between 2010 and 2021.
“While suicide remains the predominant cause of firearm-related deaths, a notable surge of 70 percent in the homicide rate is driving the overall increase in firearm fatalities,” the report states.
The report stated that men of all age groups were at the highest risk for firearm-related injuries. Hispanics, Native Americans and Black Americans had higher firearm injury death rates between 2017 and 2021.
Other issues the report found were the northeast and metro health regions, had higher firearm-related emergency room visits in the last two years; there were more homicide cases involving drug or alcohol dependence reported and there is a lack of safe firearm storage. There is also an economic impact of firearm injuries to the New Mexico health care system.
Age is also a factor. Those under 50 tend to have a higher risk for firearm-related injuries.
“There has been a noticeable surge in firearm related ED visits among children aged 0-17, with particular concern for those aged 14-17,” the report stated.
The executive order has been challenged in court, most recently with a federal judge barring a part of the order that banned firearms in Bernalillo County. Following the ruling, Lujan Grisham took out that part of the order.
Since then, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez held a law enforcement summit to discuss gun violence in New Mexico. Torrez had previously stated that his office would not defend Lujan Grisham in any of the lawsuits that have arisen due to the initial order.Note: *If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering self-harm or suicide, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 988.