May 28, 2024
 
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  • Source: FreePressers
  • 09/13/2023
FPI / September 11, 2023

In a move that Bernalillo County leaders say they will not comply with, New Mexico Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham insists that she has the authority under an emergency declaration to suspend concealed and open carry firearm laws for 30 days in Albuquerque and the surrounding county.

“No person, other than a law enforcement officer or licensed security officer, shall possess a firearm … either openly or concealed,” the governor’s order, issued on Friday, states.

Lujan Grisham said she was compelled to act due to a series of shootings in the city, including one that killed an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball game and a group of alleged targeted shootings against Muslim men last month.

"The time for standard measures has passed,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “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.”

Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman, who once served as a Democrat Party leader and was appointed by Lujan Grisham, on Saturday joined Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Harold Medina in saying they will not enforce the order.

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

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said in a statement: "First and foremost, every lost life is a tragedy, and the well-being of our community is of paramount concern to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office. We share in the collective grief and urgency to address this issue.

"However, as the elected Sheriff, 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."

The National Association for Gun Rights and Foster Haines, a member who lives in Albuquerque, filed documents in U.S. District Court in New Mexico suing Lujan Grisham and seeking an immediate block to the implementation of her order.

Jacob Charles, a law professor at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law who studies the Second Amendment, noted that the Supreme Court in the June 2022 Bruen case expanded the right of law-abiding Americans to carry guns in public for self-defense.

Charles said that ruling takes away the ability to take into account arguments about a compelling government interest, like the gun violence that Lujan Grisham said prompted her order. Now, judges must solely rely on whether any similar historical examples exist.

“They can’t assess whether or not this is going to reduce gun violence. They can’t assess whether or not there are other alternatives that government could have done,” Charles said. He later added, “What it means is that contemporary costs and benefits aren’t part of the analysis.”

The governor's executive order also calls for monthly inspections of firearms dealers statewide to ensure compliance with gun laws and for the state Department of Health to compile a report on gunshot victims at hospitals that includes age, race, gender and ethnicity, along with the brand and caliber of firearm involved.
 

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