By Andrew Hay

(Reuters) – New Mexico’s governor on Friday narrowed her heavily criticized blanket suspension on the right to carry guns in the state’s largest metropolitan area to one just covering parks and playgrounds in Albuquerque and its surrounding county.

Michelle Lujan Grisham framed both her initial suspension, which a federal judge blocked after gun rights activists challenged it, and Friday’s new order as a public health response to gun violence in Albuquerque that included the killing last week of an 11-year-old boy in an apparent road rage incident. Her unusual moved pulled New Mexico into a national debate on gun rights and public safety.

“I’m going to continue pushing to make sure that all of us are using every resource available to put an end to this public health emergency with the urgency it deserves,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily restrained the firearms provisions of Lujan Grisham’s initial health order pending further litigation. National gun rights advocates had argued, and the judge agreed, that her 30-day suspension of firearm carry rights in all areas of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County was unconstitutional.

Democrat leaders of both chambers of New Mexico’s legislature backed fellow Democrat Lujan Grisham’s new health order. Her earlier ban had met opposition from Democrats including the state’s attorney general and sheriff of Bernalillo County.

“We will not let the politics of the day, or anything else, distract us from working together – city, county, and state leaders and law enforcement – to move forward real solutions that make our communities safer,” House Speaker Javier Martinez said in a joint statement with Lujan Grisham.

(Reporting By Andrew Hay; editing by Donna Bryson and Grant McCool)

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