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Seeking Attention, Not Solutions in New Mexico

Monday, September 25, 2023

Seeking Attention, Not Solutions in New Mexico

After several weeks of the abject failure of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D) attempt to suspend constitutional rights in her state, there are a number of theories as to what, exactly, she was hoping to accomplish. First, and foremost, though, it appears to have been little more than a PR stunt. She all but said as much.

After receiving public opposition to her outlandish announcement of an unconstitutional 30-day ban on open and concealed carry of firearms in public places in Bernalillo County, followed quickly by numerous lawsuits and a temporary restraining order (TRO) against enforcing the ban, part of Lujan Grisham’s response to the TRO was to state, “Over the past four days (since issuing the order), I’ve seen more attention on resolving the crisis of gun violence than I have in the past four years.”

So she apparently got the publicity she was craving.

Not only is her comment a bald-faced lie, though, it’s an admission of failure, as Lujan Grisham has been in office for the past four years, and her party has controlled both chambers of the New Mexico legislature over that same time period. If she hasn’t been able to enact the laws she thinks will address violent crime involving those who use firearms in an illegal fashion over the last four years, either she is bad at governing, or her ideas are simply wildly unpopular or complete failures at achieving their alleged goals.

Probably a bit of all of that, really.

For the past four years, there has been a great deal of “attention” in the legislature on Lujan Grisham’s notion that infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners will somehow stop violent criminals from being violent criminals. Just go to NRAILA.org, then scroll down and use the filter to select New Mexico and All Dates. There have been countless anti-gun bills introduced, and some have even passed to become law. None have proven to be capable of reducing the violent acts of criminals misusing firearms.

Speaking of the apparent unpopularity of her ideas, one cannot help but notice the lack of support for her PR stunt. Honestly, it’s a bit surprising, knowing just how radical the anti-Second Amendment community is.

Lujan Grisham, during her press conference announcing her attempt to suspend the rights of law-abiding gun owners, stated that she had spoken to the White House prior to enacting the order. She didn’t say what kind of feedback she received, but considering there have not been any comments from anyone in the Biden administration about her actions—actions that have received national coverage by many media outlets—it may be safe to presume the subject matter is as toxic to Biden as his son’s legal problems.

Anti-gun organizations have been equally mum. None of the groups that supported Lujan Grisham’s election—like Everytown/Moms Demand and Giffords—have issued a single statement in support of the governor’s stunt. Normally, anti-gun organizations are eager to praise the actions of anti-gun politicians; especially when they are put in the national spotlight.

But so far, all we’ve heard are crickets.

Similarly, these groups tend to file amicus briefs in support of anti-gun efforts that are challenged in court. Again, nothing on the aforementioned groups’ websites mentions filing any briefs in support of Lujan Grisham.

In fact, New Mexico’s attorney general, Raul Torrez (D), has publicly stated he will not defend the governor’s order in court, noting that it is clearly unconstitutional. Torrez, it should be noted, was also endorsed by the anti-gun groups Giffords and Everytown/Moms Demand.

Even some of the most vocal, radical anti-gun individuals called out Lujan Grisham for overstepping her authority with the unconstitutional ban on the right to carry. Anti-gun US Representative Ted Lieu (D-Cal.) posted to X (formerly Twitter) that the order “violates the U.S. Constitution,” and that “(t)here is no such thing as a public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution.” Anti-gun activist David Hogg, as if cutting and pasting from some damage control script sent out by “moderate” anti-gunners, used virtually the same language as Lieu about a “public health emergency exception.”

Then, the very weekend the order was first put into place, peaceful protestors in Albuquerque carried firearms in the city—both openly and, presumably, concealed—with not a single arrest made or citation issued.

Some of the more radical political operatives in the country may not have realized these were peaceful protests, as no riots took place, no businesses were looted or burned down, and nobody was assaulted. Nonetheless, they were the epitome of peaceful protests.

Thus far, her actions have resulted in numerous legal challenges, including one filed by NRA-ILA, and one TRO issued by a Biden-appointed judge. Yes, you read that right, the first of what will likely be numerous defeats for Lujan Grisham’s PR stunt was issued by a judge appointed by Joe Biden.

After the TRO was issued, the governor amended her order to narrow the unconstitutional suspension of the right to carry firearms to apply to “public parks or playgrounds” in the affected area. Of course, diminishing the area an unconstitutional order impacts does not make it less unconstitutional, it just has the potential to decrease the number of people who might be affected. Virtually every legal challenge to the order, even as amended, shall likely continue. We know ours will.

But if you need any more evidence that the governor was merely looking for attention, rather than actual solutions, again, just consider what she says. When asked directly, during her own press conference announcing her action, if she thought criminals would obey the order, she said no, but thought it would send a message. She even openly admitted that she was issuing the order without having figured out how it would be enforced.

“Sending a message” may be one of the worst defenses of an unconstitutional law we’ve heard, but considering she admits her order will not affect criminals, it may be the only defense she has.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.