While Colorado’s recent gun legislation has been tied up in court, the state of New Mexico has gotten something done; at least temporarily. Now it remains to be seen if the same sort of gun lobby groups that have stymied comment sense gun legislation in Colorado will attack New Mexico.
Last Friday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque and the surrounding county for at least 30 days.
The Democrat governor made the move due to recent violence in the state, which saw an 11-year-old boy gunned down following a minor league baseball game, and a four-year-old girl asleep in her bedroom was killed when gun shots were fired outside.
“I welcome the debate and fight about how to make New Mexicans safer,” said Grisham at the news conference called to announce it. She was flanked by law enforcement officials.
The suspension of both open carry and concealed carry in public places was issued as an emergency public health order for areas of the state seeing increased violence. The only area of New Mexico that meets that threshold happens to be Albuquerque, and Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina announced that he would refuse to enforce it.
Violation of the order (which is a civil infraction, not a criminal charge) carries a $5,000 fine. Public places include city sidewalks and urban recreation parks, state buildings, and schools. Police and licensed security guards are exempt from the temporary ban.
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen at first said he was uneasy about enforcement because it might violate constitutional rights, but was willing to give it a try. By this morning, he had reversed his position.
The move has sparked protests by heavily-armed protestors in Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza. Police stood by, not enforcing the new emergency public health order.
Not to be outdone, Republican New Mexico House of Representatives member Stefani Lord attended the protest and announced that she and fellow Republican Representative JohnBlockof Otero county had already filed Articles of Impeachment against the governor.
While the democrats control the New Mexico Assembly, Lord said that the two plan to push through the impeachment proceedings. “It’s also going to depend on if we get support on the Democrats’ side and we actually might with this,” she said. “Because she has gone too far that every single person agrees that what she did was illegal.”
Here in Colorado, all three gun control bills that passed the Colorado Legislature in the past year have been tied up in court by lawsuits filed by the Rocky Mountian Gun Owners Association (RMGOA). The bills — raising the legal age to purchase a gun, requiring a three-day waiting period to purchase a gun, and requiring background checks — have been called “common sense gun laws”. Surveys of Colorado voters show that the majority of voters are in favor of the bills.
Not only is RMGOA well funded, it is an aggressive lobbying group that goes after anyone or anyone who they view as in their way. Recently that has included ridiculing mothers of young children who staged an effort called “Here4TheKids,” on the steps of the Colorado Capitol encouraging gun legislation — referencing them as “Commie Mommies”.
Within hours of the New Mexico Governor’s action, at least three lawsuits were filed, including by three different gun groups: the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), the Gun Owners of America, and the Gun Owners Foundation
New Mexico Senate and House Republicans have just announced they would also file lawsuits challenging the order.