Bernalillo County Sheriff says he won't enforce 'unconstitutional' gun ban in Albuquerque ordered by New Mexico governor

September 12, 2023
Ben Marquis

On Friday, Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took what clearly appears to be unconstitutional executive action to use a declared "public health emergency" to effectively impose a 30-day ban on firearms possession on public property in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County.

Unfortunately for the governor, Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen just made it exceedingly clear that his office will not act to enforce Grisham's "unconstitutional" order that violates the rights of law-abiding citizens, Breitbart reported.

In doing so, he joins the county's district attorney, the city's police chief, virtually all Republicans and even some Democrats, and several gun rights groups that have already filed lawsuits in standing in opposition to the anti-gun governor's actions.

Sheriff won't enforce governor's "unconstitutional" gun ban

New Mexico's KSFR reported Monday that Sheriff Allen held a press conference to more fully discuss his opposition to Gov. Grisham's Friday order that he had already signaled he would not support.

"I do not want to have political violence toward my deputies and in Bernalillo County. My job is to keep the peace and to make sure the citizens of Bernalillo County are safe and I do not believe this order will help me do so," Allen said.

The sheriff continued, "I’m a law enforcement professional. This order will not do anything to curb gun violence other than to punish law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense."

According to the Associated Press, Allen went on to say in the news conference of the governor's action, "It’s unconstitutional, so there’s no way we can enforce that order."

He further described how "shocked and irritated" he was at having the order announced with little advance notice and, while calling for a special legislative session to address this and gun violence issues, added, "I have to turn my irritation and anger into solutions."

Statements of opposition, impeachment threat, and multiple lawsuits

In taking this stand against Gov. Grisham's clearly unconstitutional infringement of the Second Amendment-protected rights of her constituents in Bernalillo County, Sheriff Allen joins Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina, who issued a statement Friday night to announce that his officers would not be enforcing the governor's order.

They are both joined by Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman, a former Democratic Party leader who was appointed to his current position by the governor, who said in a Saturday statement, "As an officer of the court, I cannot and will not enforce something that is clearly unconstitutional. This office will continue to focus on criminals of any age that use guns in the commission of a crime."

Meanwhile, a handful of Republican lawmakers in the Democrat-dominated state legislature have called for the impeachment process to begin against Grisham, and while some Democrats have spoken out against the order it is unclear if that opposition is great enough to support an impeachment and removal attempt.

At the same time, several national gun rights groups have already filed lawsuits to have Gov. Grisham's order blocked by the courts.

State Police will apparently enforce governor's gun ban

According to the AP, New Mexico citizens caught in violation of Gov. Grisham's order could potentially face misdemeanor civil penalties and a $5,000 fine, though it looks like only the State Police will be enforcing the governor's order and, given the state opposition of the district attorney, it is unclear who would prosecute any potential charges.

According to Source New Mexico, following a peaceful but defiant rally by gun owners in Albuquerque openly displaying their firearms, a spokesperson for the governor said, "The order is being enforced, and citations will be forthcoming from the State Police. To ensure officer safety, we will not be providing additional details at this time."

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