Lawmakers kill ban on guns in public parks

Playground by Gavin Moughan

By Gavin Moughan

State lawmakers aren’t as enthusiastic as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham when it comes to banning firearms in parks.

Gov. Grisham initially placed a ban on firearms in public in response to the death of an 11-year-old child outside of a minor league stadium. But a measure to turn that temporary measure into a permanent law failed in the 2024 legislative session.

The proposal (SB 204) was part of the governor’s public safety agenda.

“Gun violence is a significant contributor to the cycles of crime in our communities and will continue to use every tool at our disposal to end this epidemic,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said when outlining her agenda.

The bill would have made it a fourth-degree felony to have a firearm in public parks, playgrounds and parking lots. Exempt from this would be peace officers, security officers with certain credentials, and active military while performing official duties. 

Photo by luengo_ua. Adobe Stock.

But that doesn’t mean lawmakers are giving up. House Speaker Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque, announced Feb. 28 that that he will work with law enforcement officials, state and city leaders and community advocates to come up with solutions to New Mexico’s public safety woes.

“We appreciate any effort to bolster treatment options and behavioral health services, and the work of our Community Safety and Health, Housing, and Homelessness departments as they help folks that are struggling with substance use or mental health issues,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said of the move.

But Republicans and some Democrats pledged to continue fighting efforts to restrict gun rights.

“No matter how hard Lujan Grisham tries to violate the constitution, she will never succeed, I will be there to stand firm against her tyranny.” Representative Stefani Lord posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.