ABQ Officials Re-District Downtown into a Giant School Zone to Federally Prosecute Gun Crimes
By: ABQ RAW Staff
POSTED: 05/24/2023 @ 5:55PM
Downtown Albuquerque -
City of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, APD Police Chief Harold Medina, and United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico Alexander M.M. Uballez hosted a press conference inside a downtown business called Insideout, it is a popular downtown spot for music, food, and drinking.
The press conference was held to announce a new initiative where the city of Albuquerque will be using federal gun laws to prosecute offenders who use guns to commit crimes Downtown. Gun crimes under the newly crafted zoning could make offenders charged federally if the crimes occurs within 1,000 feet of a school.
There are six schools in the downtown district between Lomas Blvd. and Coal Ave., and 12th Street and Broadway Ave that are not under Albuquerque Public School districts. The buffer zones around the schools cover most of the downtown district. Under the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, firearms are prohibited in school zones to include in or on the grounds of a public, parochial or private school, or within 1,000 feet from the grounds.
“I will continue to fight against gun violence our city with every tool we have. This is a very innovative approach that sends a clear message to anyone who thinks they can come downtown and use a gun to commit a crime, we will catch you and pursue full federal gun charges, and get you off the street,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We will continue use every tool we have to crack down on gun violence, and we are putting criminals on notice in downtown Albuquerque.”
APD is once again joining forces with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which will prosecute gun crimes that violate federal law related to gun crimes around schools. The federal statute states:
18 USC § 922(q)(2)(A). Punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. A. Except as authorized, may not possess or discharge a firearm in a school zone.
If convicted of violating gun-free school zone laws, you could face up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
The City is posting signs throughout Downtown to let people know they are in a school zone where federal firearms restrictions apply. There are no time periods where the law is effective, the law is valid at any hour of the day. APD will have to build a really strong case for it to move to the federal adoption by the U.S. Attorney.