Key State Successfully Enacts Sweeping Ban On Firearms Near Polling Places

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New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law this week a new ban on firearms near polling places in her state, addressing the ongoing, nationwide concerns about potential violence around elections. The ban covers 100 feet around such locations.

Firearms were among the weapons carried during the Capitol riot in early 2021, and individuals including sometimes armed figures showed up outside ballot drop boxes in nearby Arizona in the lead-up to 2022’s elections, further illustrating the need. New Mexico state lawmakers ended up including an exemption for individuals permitted for concealed carry, meaning — in contrast to open carry — covertly carrying a firearm.

“Senate Bill 5, Firearms Near Polling Places, prohibits carrying firearms within 100 feet of polling places and ballot receptacles, preventing intimidation and violence as New Mexicans exercise their right to vote,” explained a recap of the newly enacted legislation provided by the governor’s office in New Mexico.

“Guns and voting are a toxic mix. As elections have become known targets for threats and intimidation, it’s important we are enacting this legislation ahead of the upcoming election cycle,” Democratic state Sen. Peter Wirth said this week. A consultant with the Brennan Center for Justice based in New York City suggested other states could follow up New Mexico’s move with something similar. “We are hopeful and confident that other states will follow New Mexico’s lead this year,” said that organization’s Allison Anderman.

Elsewhere, ex-President Donald Trump — who is on his way to securing Republicans’ presidential nomination this year — continues essentially stumping for the cause of participants in the Capitol attack seen in early 2021 in connection to lies tracing to Trump of a stolen presidential election. Trump has proposed pardons for such individuals if he regains the presidency, and he characterizes detainees with criminal allegations originating in the day as “hostages,” alleging that political plots sit behind court proceedings that have implicated them.