Democrat New Mexico AG Tells Governor He Won’t Defend Emergency Gun Ban Order

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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, announced on Friday that open and concealed carry laws in Albuquerque and the surrounding county were being restricted. This puts her at odds with the AG of New Mexico, also a Democrat, that called her order “unconstitutional” and said that he would not be enforcing the order.

“Though I recognize my statutory obligation as New Mexico’s chief legal officer to defend state officials when they are sued in their official capacity, my duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen takes precedence,” Attorney General Raúl Torrez told Grisham in a letter.

“Simply put, I do not believe that the Emergency Order will have any meaningful impact on public safety but, more importantly, I do not believe it passes constitutional muster,” he added.

Torrez went on to criticize the governor for taking actions that would have little to no effect on gun violence but would absolutely violate citizens’ rights.

“I encourage you to engage in a more thoughtful and deliberative process with members of the New Mexico Legislature rather than taking unilateral action that infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens while having little if any discernible impact on the underlying dynamics driving gun violence in our community,” he wrote.

Torrez agrees with the need for a debate about the effects of gun violence, “but the issuance of an executive order in violation of core constitutional principles is not the appropriate method for bringing about such a debate, and its flawed legal foundation is likely to obscure rather than highlight, meaningful solutions.”

Grisham recognized on Friday that her order would likely face legal challenges, but she cited several incidents of gun violence against children that she said inspired the emergency policy.

“I’ve warned everyone that we expect a challenge, probably while you’re writing this, we’re getting a challenge, and that’s the way it should work,” said the Democrat. “But I have to take a tough, direct stand, or basically I’m just ignoring the fact that we lost an 11-year-old, another child.”

The public health order will be in force for 30 days, but Grisham said that she would consider extending it after seeing how well it works to stop gun violence.

The decision by Grisholm was met with strong criticism, even from members of her own party. In addition to Torrez, U.S. House of Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) has also called the decision unconstitutional.

“I support gun safety laws. However, this order from the Governor of New Mexico violates the U.S. Constitution. No state in the union can suspend the federal Constitution. There is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution”, Lieu tweeted.


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