New Mexico officials weigh in on Supreme Court's gun ruling

Jun. 24—Mayor Alan Webber blasted the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Thursday to strike down a gun control law in New York City and said Santa Fe intends to press ahead with gun buyback events and to develop measures that would bar firearms from city buildings and other public spaces.

"At a time when cities across the country are doing everything within their power to reduce gun violence, the right wing of the Supreme Court has delivered a decision that thumbs its nose at gun safety and embraces the ideology of the NRA," Webber wrote in an email. "If nothing else, this decision is a reminder that commonsense gun safety measures will have to be undertaken for us and by us."

The ruling also is a reminder, he wrote, "that elections have consequences, not only at the Federal level, but also at the State and local levels."

Webber and other New Mexico politicians and gun safety advocates lamented a ruling they fear could alter gun restrictions nationwide — allowing more people to carry concealed firearms in some of the largest U.S. cities while also preventing lawmakers from drafting stronger gun control laws — at a time when the nation is reeling from a series of mass shootings.

U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a New Mexico Democrat, issued a statement calling the ruling "shameful" and a "blow to sensible gun safety laws throughout the country."

The decision will make it more difficult for states to implement "common-sense concealed carry laws," he added.

New Mexico is one of 25 states that issue concealed carry permits and is considered one of the least restrictive when it comes to gun laws.

The New York law required anyone seeking a permit to carry a concealed firearm to show that they had a "proper cause" to do so. A case challenging the measure was brought after two gun owners were denied permits.

The justices, with a conservative majority, ruled 6-3 that requiring people to demonstrate a particular reason for carrying a concealed weapon violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in an opinion for the majority the Constitution protects "an individual's right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home."

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer noted that since the start of 2022, "there have already been 277 reported mass shootings — an average of more than one per day."

One of the most shocking was the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school massacre that killed 19 children and two teachers just weeks ago.

Miranda Viscoli, co-president of the nonprofit New Mexican to Prevent Gun Violence, said while most concealed carry permit owners are "very safe gun owners," she worries the high court's decision could lead to an increase in bad actors who might now be able to access concealed carry permits.

"What can possibly go wrong?" she said.

"I can't imagine how law enforcement will be OK with this," Viscoli added. "We just made their job much more unsafe."

Recently reelected Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who was one of the only sheriffs in the state to support stronger gun control legislation, said he was not prepared to comment until he had time to review the ruling.

Santa Fe police Chief Paul Joye could not be reached for comment.

The ruling was lauded by New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce, who called it a "victory for constitutional protections."

"The 2nd Amendment is a cornerstone to our Democracy, and this 6-3 decision is a win for gun rights advocates," Pearce said in a statement. "The High Court ruled that Americans have the right to carry firearms in public. New York's restrictive law was a clear violation of the right to 'keep and bear arms.' "