New Mexico Governor Responds After Federal Court Puts Her 30-Day Gun Carry Ban on Hold

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
September 14, 2023Politics
New Mexico Governor Responds After Federal Court Puts Her 30-Day Gun Carry Ban on Hold
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham listens to President Joe Biden's speech about student debt relief at Central New Mexico Community College Student Resource Center in Albuquerque, N.M., on Nov. 3, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is standing by her efforts to impose an emergency 30-day order restricting the carry of firearms in public, even after a federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the order.

Last week, Ms. Lujan Grisham attempted to implement this 30-day firearms restriction through a public health emergency declaration, prompting a series of lawsuits challenging its legality. On Wednesday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge David Urias—an appointee of President Joe Biden— issued a temporary restraining order (pdf) blocking portions of the New Mexico governor’s emergency order, which prohibited people from being able to carry their firearms in public in Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County for self-defense.

“Today a judge temporarily blocked sections of our public health order but recognized the significant problem of gun violence in this state, particularly involving the deaths of children,” Ms. Lujan Grisham said in a press statement responding to the court order. “I refuse to be resigned to the status quo. As governor, I see the pain of families who lost their loved ones to gun violence every single day, and I will never stop fighting to prevent other families from enduring these tragedies.”

The emergency declaration would have empowered law enforcement officers to issue “civil administrative penalties” for violators. Even with the temporary restraining order blocking such civil penalties, Ms. Lujan Grisham said her administration would “stay the course” by simply increasing law enforcement presence in Bernalillo County and arresting violent offenders with outstanding warrants.

While Judge Urias’s decision presents a setback for her gun control order, Ms. Lujan Grisham said she has felt a marked increase in attention toward addressing gun violence in the days since she enacted her emergency declaration.

“Over the past four days, I’ve seen more attention on resolving the crisis of gun violence than I have in the past four years,” she said. “Now is the time to bring clarity of purpose: New Mexicans must again feel safe walking home from school, driving to the grocery store, or leaving their hometown baseball stadium.”

Ms. Lujan Grisham additionally called on state and local leaders to continue pushing for new policies on guns and gun violence.

“Who will stand up to protect families and children? I will,” she wrote. “And I call on leaders across the state, from local law enforcement to the Legislature to mayors and county commissioners: Stand with me to enact solutions that save people’s lives. Throwing up our hands is not an option.”

The temporary restraining order will remain in place at least until Oct. 3, the date Judge Urias has scheduled for additional arguments in one of the lawsuits challenging Ms. Lujan Grisham’s emergency declaration.

NTD News reached out to Ms. Lujan Grisham’s office for further comment but did not receive a response by the time this article was published.

Gun Rights Group’s Celebrate Ruling

While Ms. Lujan Grisham signaled she would keep working to enact policies on gun violence, various gun rights groups that challenged her public health declaration celebrated the temporary block and signaled they are ready to continue their legal challenges.

“We’re thrilled that the Court has ruled in our favor and upheld the Second Amendment, the U.S. Constitution, and Supreme Court precedent,” said Cody J. Wisniewski, the general counsel and vice president for the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC). “Gov. Grisham’s executive order is blatantly unconstitutional and we look forward to continue proving as much in Court.”

The FPC was one of several gun rights organizations that backed lawsuits challenging Ms. Lujan Grisham’s order. Other gun rights groups who challenged the order included the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Gun Owners of America (GOA), the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), We The Patriots USA, and the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association.

“We are delighted that the court wasted no time clamping down on Gov. Lujan Grisham’s clearly unconstitutional suspension of Second Amendment rights,” SAF founder and executive vice president Allen M. Gottlieb wrote of Judge Urias’s Wednesday order. “No governor has the authority to arbitrarily deny constitutional rights, especially on the flimsy argument this is a public health emergency.”

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