In a recent turn of events, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has backed down from her initial “emergency public health order” that had attempted to suspend Second Amendment carry rights throughout the state’s most populated county and city. This decision was heavily influenced by a temporary restraining order issued by a federal District Court Judge, which hindered the enforcement of the Governor’s original ban.
As per the new modifications, the suspension on carry rights has been lifted for Bernalillo County and the city of Albuquerque. However, this ban will still apply to “parks or playgrounds where we know we’ve got high risk of kids and families,” stated Grisham. Although the exact specifics of this amendment remain somewhat ambiguous, the Governor held an hour-long press conference in an attempt to clarify her stance.
The initial order, introduced on September 8th, 2023, imposed a 30-day suspension of open and concealed carry rights in Bernalillo County, home to Albuquerque. This sudden move by the Governor was met with significant resistance, inciting multiple lawsuits and calls for her impeachment.
Even fellow Democrat, New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez, expressed his reservations, stating his unwillingness to defend the state in the ensuing legal battles and his skepticism regarding the order’s potential impact on public safety.
The adjustment to the order came after an engaging courtroom debate. Lujan Grisham mentioned during a press briefing that there’s a considerable distinction between a suspension and a ban. While emphasizing her concerns about the ongoing issues related to gun violence and public safety, she cited the tragic incidents of three children, including an 11-year-old, who were recently victims of gun violence. This, coupled with convenient and questionable statistics showing a “43% increase in gun death rates” in New Mexico from 2009 to 2018, attributed to the Governor’s decision to classify gun violence as a statewide public health emergency.
Critics of Lujan Grisham’s measures have come from all corners. Albuquerque police Chief Harold Medina stated his reluctance to enforce the order, and Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen voiced his concerns about potential infringements on constitutional rights. As expected, gun-control supporters like Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, praised the Governor’s efforts as both brave and essential, even if the order’s legality remains a point of contention.
Reflecting on the blowback, the Governor commented, “When you try to build consensus on gun violence measures, you cannot.” If further challenges arise in the upcoming October hearing, Lujan Grisham mentioned the possibility of approaching the legislature for a resolution.
Maybe if the Governor focused on criminals instead of law-abiding gun owners, she could actually get to the consensus she claims to want.