Lawmakers Call for New Mexico Governor’s Impeachment After Emergency Gun Order

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
September 10, 2023Politics
Lawmakers Call for New Mexico Governor’s Impeachment After Emergency Gun Order
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in Albuquerque, N.M., in a file photograph. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in public in and around the state’s largest city drew an immediate court challenge and also calls for her impeachment by Republicans in the legislature

New Mexico state Reps. Stefani Lord and John Block, both Republican, called for her impeachment after she issued the Sept. 8 order, which prohibits citizens from carrying guns in public in the Albuquerque area.

“This is an abhorrent attempt at imposing a radical, progressive agenda on an unwilling populous. Rather than addressing crime at its core, Governor Grisham is restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Ms. Lord wrote in a statement posted on X.

Mr. Block claimed that the governor has “called for open season on law-abiding citizens” by misinterpreting the Constitution and laws of the state. “That’s something that needs to be remedied immediately,” the lawmaker said.

In response to the impeachment threat, Mrs. Lujan Grisham’s office said the governor is “prepared to fight challenges to her decision and recognizes not everyone supports the public health order,” adding that it’s a “public health emergency, and extraordinary measures are required to prevent more innocent New Mexicans from being killed by guns.”

Lawsuit Filed

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

“The State must justify the Carry Prohibition by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” the lawsuit states. “But it is impossible for the State to meet this burden, because there is no such historical tradition of firearms regulation in this Nation.”

The president of the pro-gun group, Dudley Brown, said that Mrs. Lujan Grisham’s order is essentially a “middle finger” to the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a statement.

“Her executive order is in blatant disregard for [New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen]. She needs to be held accountable for stripping the God-given rights of millions away with the stroke of a pen,” Mr. Brown said, referring to the 2022 Supreme Court decision on gun rights.

The governor, a Democrat, said the 30-day suspension—enacted as an emergency public health measure—would apply in most public places, from city sidewalks to parks. Mrs. Lujan Grisham said that the state police would be responsible for enforcing her order, and that noncompliance is a civil violation that carries a fine of up to $5,000.

She said that the order was designed to help reduce the number of shootings in New Mexico, while calling on the federal government’s help.

“These are disgusting acts of violence that have no place in our communities,” Mrs. Lujan Grisham said on Sept. 7, adding that Bernalillo County needed a “cooling off period” amid a rise in shootings. She said that her state should use the “power of a public health [order] in a state of emergency to access different levels, different resources, and different opportunities to keep New Mexicans safe.”

The order stipulated that gun owners still would be able to transport guns to private locations such as a gun range or gun store if the firearm is in a container or has a trigger lock or mechanism making it impossible to discharge.

In issuing the order, Mrs. Lujan Grisham said she was compelled to act after an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed outside a minor league baseball game stadium, as well as gunfire that left a 5-year-old girl dead.


Some Democratic officials, sheriffs, and even district attorneys have said they can’t enforce the governor’s order.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman, who once served as a Democratic party leader and was appointed by Mrs. Lujan Grisham, on Sept. 9 joined Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Harold Medina in saying that they wouldn’t enforce the order.

Chief Medina said that Albuquerque police have made more than 200 arrests of suspects in killings in the past two years. Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said enforcing the order also could put Albuquerque police in a difficult position with a U.S. Department of Justice police reform settlement.

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

Similarly, Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said he was uneasy about how gun owners might respond. “I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts,” he said, “as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense.”

The order from the governor’s office also appeared to be so extreme that even prominent gun-control activist David Hogg reacted with criticism in a social media post on Sept. 9.

“I support gun safety but there is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution,” Mr. Hogg wrote.

The top Republican in the New Mexico Senate, Greg Baca of Belen, also denounced Mrs. Lujan Grisham’s order as an infringement on the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. Dan Lewis, who serves on the nonpartisan Albuquerque City Council, called the order an unconstitutional edict.

Legal experts have said that the latest Supreme Court ruling in June 2022 expanded the right of Americans to carry firearms outside the home for self-defense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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