Estancia recently approved a new rule forcing people to be armed at town meetings. The rule comes after a split vote on the measure. Prior to the rule, guns were allowed in the meetings, but not required. One of the board of trustee members said the rule is “meaningless…It’s a waste of a lot of people’s time. I just hope it doesn’t end up costing us money.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico has said they will sue for violating the First Amendment if the rule isn’t rescinded by November 30 as it will “deter community members from attending town council meetings to petition their local government.”
Last month, a legislative panel voted to prohibit guns in the Roundhouse with limited exceptions. During the debate, lawmakers noted that armed intimidation in the past was part of the deciding factor to pass the legislation.
Earlier this year, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action unveiled a new policy plan designed to eliminate armed intimidation from politics by prohibiting guns at Capitol buildings and on Capitol grounds, sensitive government facilities, polling locations, vote counting locations, and protests on public property. The open carry of loaded firearms during any demonstration or at the Capitol increases the likelihood that such an event will escalate into a dangerous or deadly situation. Research shows that open carry makes us less safe: visible guns have been found to make people more aggressive; therefore open carry makes it more likely that disagreements will turn into violent conflicts. Members of hate groups regularly openly carry guns in a show of intimidation.
In an average year, 415 people die by guns in New Mexico, and 879 are wounded. New Mexico also has the seventh highest rate of gun violence in the country. Additional information on gun violence in New Mexico is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how New Mexico’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.