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New Mexico Governor Suspends Right to Bear Arms, Says Second Amendment Isn’t ‘Absolute’

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a “public health emergency order” on Friday that reportedly suspends the right to bear arms in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County. The order, which lasts 30 days but can be extended, applies to the concealed or open carry of firearms on public property, with exceptions for police officers and security guards. Grisham said that “citizens with a permit to carry firearms are free to possess their weapons on private property (such as at a shooting range or gun store) provided they transport the firearm in a locked box, use a trigger lock, or other mechanism that renders the gun incapable of being fired.”

The order applies to “cities or counties that have an average of 1,000 or more violent crimes per 1,000 residents per year since 2021,” a benchmark currently only adhered to by Bernalillo County. Grisham says the carry ban is a necessary response to “recent shootings that left a thirteen-year-old girl dead on July 28, a five-year-old girl on August 14, and an 11-year-old boy on September 6.” as well as two mass shootings this year.” At a news conference on Friday, she conceded that the order would likely be challenged in court as a violation of the Second Amendment, but added: “I welcome the debate and fight over the New make Mexicans safer.”

Yesterday, the National Association for Gun Rights, along with a member living in Albuquerque, sued Grisham in federal court, arguing that her order violates the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. That decision overturned New York’s sweeping restrictions on public ownership of firearms and established a constitutional test for gun restrictions, which the Court said “must be consistent with the historic tradition of firearms regulation in this country.” Gun Owners of America, along with another Albuquerque resident, filed a similar federal lawsuit on Saturday. Both groups argue that Grisham’s order clearly fails Bruen test.

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below BruenAccording to the first lawsuit, the carry ban is “presumptively unconstitutional” because “the plain text of the Second Amendment” concerns public possession of weapons for self-defense. And the state “is unable to rebut this presumption because the regulations are inconsistent with Nation’s historical tradition of firearms regulation.” The order “clearly and unequivocally violates[s] the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to ‘bear arms’ which ‘shall not be infringed,'” the second lawsuit says, and “deprive[s] law-abiding gun owners from their only means of self-defense against a criminal attack in public.”

The New Mexico Shooting Sports Association, a division of the National Rifle Association, said it plans to join the two other groups in challenging Grisham’s order. Grisham said state police will be charged with enforcing the order, which calls for a fine of up to $5,000 per violation. The Associated Press reports that Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina “said he won’t enforce the law, and Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said he’s uncomfortable with it because it raises too many questions about constitutional rights.”

Grisham seems unfazed by these questions. “The goal is to try to create a cooling-off period while we figure out how to better address public safety and gun violence,” she said at Friday’s news conference. “There will be a lot of questions about whether or not we think we have the legal rights to do that. I’m sure there will be a legal challenge, and I can’t tell you that we [will] win, given all the various challenges to gun violence laws and restrictions on individual access to and control over firearms… I think it’s time to talk about the absoluteness of the debate and the current lawsuits that suggest the Second Amendment is a is absolutely right.”

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When a reporter asked Grisham if her order was consistent with her oath to uphold the Constitution, she reiterated that “in my opinion, no constitutional right, including my oath, is intended to be absolute.” She also indicated she would likely extend the order, which she said would only be lifted if “the epidemic” of gun violence ended after 30 days, adding, “I bet it won’t be over in 30 days .”

State Reps. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) and John Block (R-Alamogordo) said Saturday that Grisham’s order was grounds for impeachment. “This emergency order violates the Governor’s oath to protect and defend the rights of New Mexicans,” they say said in a press release. “The Legislature has a duty to intervene when the administration oversteps its bounds, and Governor Grisham’s order and comments disqualify her from continuing her term as governor.” Lord called the order “an appalling attempt to impose a radical, progressive agenda on an unwilling populace.”

Besides the obvious constitutional problems, Grisham’s order does not appear to be a logical answer to the problem it purports to address. Consider the details of the crimes Grisham mentioned when she issued the order.

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The 13-year-old girl Grisham mentioned, Amber Archuleta, was killed last July by a 14-year-old friend in Questa, a small town in Taos County. The 5-year-old girl, Galilea Samaniego, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Albuquerque last month. The 11-year-old boy, Froylan Villegas, died after an irate driver shot at the car he was riding in as he and his family left an Albuquerque Isotopes baseball game last week.

One of the two mass shootings Grisham mentioned was carried out by an 18-year-old high school student, who killed three people on May 15 in Farmington, a city in San Juan County. The other shooting left three people dead in Taos County’s Red River city, sparked by a confrontation between gang members on May 28, according to the ABC affiliate in Albuquerque.

Note that only two of these crimes occurred in Bernalillo County, where Grisham’s order applies. And only one of them – the road rage incident – ​​could have been affected by the ban on public transport. Assuming the perpetrator, who is still at large, would have complied with Grisham’s order had it been in effect at the time.

“Instead of tackling crime at its core,” says Lord complains“Governor Grisham is restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.” Even Grisham “believes this emergency order will not [stop] deter criminals from carrying or using weapons,” Lord said, suggesting the order “will only endanger New Mexicans because they will be unable to defend themselves against violent crimes.”

The post New Mexico Governor Suspends Right to Own Guns, Says Second Amendment Isn’t ‘Absolute’ appeared first on Reason.com.

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