New Mexico governor unilaterally bans guns by executive order, immediately faces calls for impeachment, lawsuits, noncompliance

September 10, 2023
Ben Marquis

Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took executive action this week to arbitrarily ban the open or concealed carry of any firearms on public or state property in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County as a way to address gun violence.

Gov. Grisham's move was widely denounced as blatantly and egregiously unconstitutional, and now faces calls from Republican lawmakers for her impeachment and removal from office, Breitbart reported.

In addition, the governor is also facing multiple lawsuits and defiant vows of noncompliance as well as statements from local law enforcement leaders suggesting that they will not act to enforce her legally dubious order.

Carrying of firearms banned by governor

In response to recent incidents of gun violence involving children, Gov. Grisham announced on Friday that she had declared gun violence to be a public health emergency and authorized a public health order that, among other things, would ban for 30 days the open and concealed carry of firearms, including for those licensed to carry, on public property in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, with certain exceptions for private property, law enforcement, and licensed security.

That public health order, signed by state Health Sec. Patrick Allen and attested to by Sec. of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, established certain crime statistic-related metrics to trigger the "temporary firearms restrictions," violations of which would be punished by certain "civil administrative penalties."

The order also authorized monthly compliance inspections for all licensed gun dealers and ordered all hospitals to "compile and issue a comprehensive report on gunshot victims" that includes the demographic data and ultimate outcome for the victim, the circumstances of the incident, the impact on the healthcare system, the "brand and caliber" of the firearm used, "and any other pertinent information."

"As I said yesterday, the time for standard measures has passed," Grisham said in a statement. "And when New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game -- when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn -- something is very wrong."

Vows of nonenforcement, calls for impeachment

The order was immediately and widely denounced, including by Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina, who said his officers would not enforce the governor's order, according to the Associated Press.

Likewise, Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said in a statement, "I have reservations regarding this order. While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our Constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold. I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts, as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense."

It also gave rise to calls for Gov. Grisham's impeachment and removal from a pair of Republican state lawmakers, Reps. Stefani Lord and John Block, according to KRQE.

"We made an oath, which is a promise that we swear that we’re going to uphold the Constitution, the rights of New Mexicans, and she threw that right out the window," Lord said. "I was completely shocked and taken by surprise that she would do such a gross overreach and completely violate the constitution."

Block said, "Our governor, she called for open season on law-abiding citizens by subverting the state and federal constitutions and laws of our state, and that’s something that needs to be remedied immediately."

Lawsuit filed

In addition, the National Association for Gun Rights and a local resident filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against Gov. Grisham's order, and NAGR President Dudley Brown said, "Gov. Luhan Grisham is throwing up a middle finger to the Constitution and the Supreme Court. Her Executive Order is in blatant disregard for Bruen. She needs to be held accountable for stripping the God-given rights of millions away with the stroke of a pen."

"This is the very danger of runaway executives who believe they have unilateral authority to suspend the Constitution under the guise of an 'emergency,'" he added. "This is exactly what we warned about during COVID. It’s a tale as old as time, give emergency powers, lose fundamental rights. Google 'Caesar' if you want to know how that turns out."

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