(SANTA FE, N.M.) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham told “GMA3” she has the “courage” to take a stand against gun violence in response to backlash over her emergency public health order temporarily suspending the right to carry firearms in public in and around Albuquerque.
The Democratic governor issued on Friday a 30-day suspension of open and concealed carry laws in Bernalillo County, where Albuquerque, the state’s most populous city, is seated.
The move was met with pushback from gun rights groups, several of which have since filed lawsuits seeking to block the order, as well as some law enforcement officials and elected leaders. Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said on Monday his office will not enforce the ban. Two Republican state representatives, John Block and Stefani Lord, are calling for the governor to be impeached over the orders.
“Everyone is terrified of the backlash for all of these political reactions,” Lujan Grisham told Eva Pilgrim on “GMA3” Wednesday. “None of those individuals or groups focused on the actual injuries or deaths of the public.”
“They aren’t dealing with this as the crisis that it is,” she continued.
The governor cited the recent shooting deaths of three children, including an 11-year-old boy gunned down outside a minor league baseball park last week, in issuing the temporary ban.
The decree came a day after Lujan Grisham declared gun violence a statewide public health emergency, saying “the rate of gun deaths in New Mexico increased 43% from 2009 to 2018.” Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 19 in New Mexico, she said.
“How would you feel in a city or a community if people had handguns in their belts, on parks, near schools, on public trails, at the grocery store?” Lujan Grisham told “GMA3.” “It’s outrageous and it must stop. And I will keep doing everything that’s based in science and fact and public safety efforts to clean up our cities to make this the safest state in America. And I will not stop until that’s done.”
In announcing the order, Lujan Grisham acknowledged it would face immediate challenges over constitutional rights. At least four lawsuits have since been filed in federal court seeking to block the order, with the Gun Owners Foundation, National Association for Gun Rights and We The Patriots USA among the various plaintiffs.
A motion hearing in the civil cases is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT on Wednesday before a federal judge in Albuquerque.
New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez, a fellow Democrat, has said he will not defend the state in the lawsuits regarding the public health emergency order, stating in a letter that he does not believe the order will have any meaningful impact on public safety.
When asked what she would say in response, Lujan Grisham told GMA she would have the same response for other individuals.
“I hope that the public’s response is if we now have elected leaders to have the courage to stand up for children,” she said. “I don’t know why we’re electing individuals who aren’t going to stand up for the people who need us to make sure they’re safe and protected.”
ABC News’ Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.
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