New Mexico AG will not defend governor's gun ban order

New Mexico’s Democratic attorney general notified the governor, a fellow Democrat, on Tuesday that he will not defend her in litigation challenging her public health order temporarily banning firearms in certain counties and imposing other gun restrictions.

The prohibition applies to Albuquerque and Bernalillo counties.

“Though I recognize my statutory obligation as New Mexico’s chief legal officer to defend state officials when they are sued in their official capacity, my duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen takes precedence,” New Mexico attorney general Raúl Torrez wrote to fellow Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a letter. “Simply put, I do not believe that the Emergency Order will have any meaningful impact on public safety but, more importantly, I do not believe it passes constitutional muster.”

Multiple plaintiffs — the National Association for Gun Rights, We the Patriots USA, residents of the affected counties, and Gun Owners of America — filed lawsuits against Grisham and her administration over the dictate.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen announced Monday that his office would not enforce the order, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

“There’s no way we can enforce that order. This ban does nothing to curb gun violence,” Allen said at a Monday press conference. “We must always remember not only are we protecting the Second Amendment, but at the same time, we have a lot of violence within our community. Let me be clear, I hold my standards high, and I do not or never will hedge on what is right.”

The sheriff condemned Grisham’s 30-day public health emergency order banning the concealed and open carry of firearms, which was signed on Friday, and pledged to ensure public safety while upholding the constitutional rights of citizens. The order was enacted following the death of an eleven-year-old child, who was shot outside a baseball game in Albuquerque on Wednesday, and other recent shootings in the state.

Grisham replied that her administration had “given you the tools, Sheriff Allen — now stop being squeamish about using them. I will not back down from doing what’s right and I will always put the safety of the people of New Mexico first.”

Her order also drew the condemnation of state Senator Greg Baca, the senior-ranking Republican in the body. “A child is murdered, the perpetrator is still on the loose, and what does the governor do? She [Grisham]… targets law-abiding citizens with an unconstitutional gun order.”

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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