Southwestern State Gives New Approval To Ban On Guns At Polling Places


New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham was slated to sign a new state ban on firearms at polling places after the New Mexico state House approved an amended version of the initiative that was then also backed by the state Senate.

The proposal as finalized for the governor added an exception allowing continued carry by New Mexico residents permitted for concealed carry. Open carry — meaning the visible carrying of firearms — remains generally covered, though the framework also includes exceptions for figures like peace officers. The legislation follows concerns amid last year’s elections about sometimes armed individuals showing up in the vicinity of ballot drop-off locations in nearby Arizona’s Maricopa County, that state’s largest county by population and a site of frequent claims of election fraud. Other incidents with less prominence also underpinned the action.

“New Mexicans should be able to exercise their right to vote without fear of intimidation or, worse, violence,” Lujan Grisham said. “This legislation solidifies what we already know: Guns do not belong at polling places.” The ban will apply within 100 feet of polling places.

New Mexico also somewhat recently saw serious violence resulting in a guilty plea this month from a man involved in an alleged conspiracy run by Solomon Peña, a failed Republican candidate for state legislature who allegedly orchestrated a spree of shootings that targeted personal residences of various figures in government. The violence unfolded across the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, and a recent press release from the federal Justice Department identifies — though not by name — at least three figures who were affected. Peña had been clamoring against election results from 2022’s races.

Demetrio Trujillo, the man who admitted to participation in the violence, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, according to federal prosecutors. And with firearms among the weapons brought to the U.S. Capitol during the Trump lie-fueled political violence of early 2021, concerning precedents continue on from there.