A 1911 pistol sits on a table above a leather holster
A 1911 pistol sits on a table above a leather holster / Stephen Gutowski

New Mexico Democrats Call on Governor to End ‘Emergency’ Gun-Carry Ban

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D.) suspension of gun-carry rights continues to draw backlash, including from lawmakers in her own party.

A group of six Democrats holding seats in the New Mexico state House of Representatives sent a letter to Governor Lujan Grisham on Monday asking her to rescind her gun-carry ban emergency order “immediately.”

“We concur with law enforcement leaders that these executive orders violate law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights and would require law enforcement officers to infringe upon these rights, which could expose officers, police agencies, and communities to civil litigation,” the Democrats said in the letter. “We agree that the Governor does not have the authority to disregard both the New Mexico Constitution and the U.S. Constitution and to create law without action from the New Mexico Legislature.”

Democrats Joseph Sanchez, Ambrose Castellano, Henry Garcia, Willie Madrid, Patricia Lundstrom, and Tara Jaramill signed on to the effort.

The letter adds to the growing bipartisan chorus of criticism being levied at the Governor since she unveiled her plan to temporarily suspend gun-carry rights in New Mexico’s most populous city and county last Friday. The fact that some lawmakers from her own party, whom she will have to work with to get legislation passed in future sessions, have denounced her move suggests that the gambit is backfiring politically.

Other Democrats have also cast doubt on the emergency ban’s legality. State Senator Joe Cervantes (D.), who helped sponsor New Mexico’s “red flag” law, accused the Governor of undermining lawmakers’ efforts to pass gun control moving forward.

“Having passed key gun safety laws working with her administration, I call on the Governor to rescind her order outlawing arms,” Cervantes said on Twitter. “An unconstitutional approach undermines the important collaboration gun issues deserve, and the important role of a Governor to lead genuine reforms.”

Martin Heinrich, one of the state’s two Democratic U.S. Senators, issued his own statement rebuking the Governor.

“There is more that can and should be done to stem the violence and ensure every American can feel safe at school, at the grocery store, or at the movie theatre,” Heinrich said in a press release. “As we do that work, we need to focus on solutions that are constitutional and enforceable. That’s what will save lives.”

The criticism comes as local officials have refused to enforce the measure, and some New Mexicans have openly defied it without consequence. About a hundred armed protesters spoke out against the ban on Sunday in an Albuquerque park. Nobody at the event was arrested or cited.

“APD is not responsible for enforcing the governor’s ban, our officers will continue to enforce all criminal laws, combat gun violence, and push for needed justice in our city,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller (D.) said on Friday.

“[A]s the elected Sheriff, I have reservations regarding this order,” Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said in a statement. “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.”

The Bernalillo County District Attorney, whom Grisham appointed, said the order is unconstitutional.

“As an officer of the court, I cannot and will not enforce something that is clearly unconstitutional,” Bregman, an Albuquerque prosecutor, told the Associated Press on Friday. “This office will continue to focus on criminals of any age that use guns in the commission of a crime.”

Governor Grisham is also contending with a growing number of legal challenges from gun rights groups seeking to block her order in court. At least five federal lawsuits have been filed to date, with the most recent being filed by the Firearms Policy Coalition, Second Amendment Foundation, and New Mexico Shooting Sports Association on Tuesday.

“Gov. Grisham’s order is blatantly unconstitutional, and we will not stand by while she violates the rights of peaceable New Mexicans,” Cody Wisniewski, Vice President of the Firearms Policy Coalition’s legal arm, said in a press release.

Governor Grisham did not respond to a request for comment.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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