Monday, September 25, 2023

Governor's Gun Move Roundly Critisized


On Wednesday, Sept. 13, a federal judge decided to temporarily suspend public firearm restrictions New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham put in place last week. 

The reverberations from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s move last week to suspend open carry and concealed carry gun laws within Albuquerque and Bernalillo County for 30 days continued this week through the country, the state and even the local areas.

East Mountain State Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park), as well as Rep. John Block (R-Rio Rancho), have begun impeachment proceedings, to which the governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Longtime Democrat Samuel Schropp, who Lujan Grisham appointed to the Torrance County Commission in March, changed his party affiliation to Independent, as has his wife, Ann Schropp, the vice chairperson of the county’s Democrat Party.

And both Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen and Torrance County Sheriff David Frazee have said their departments will not abide by the order.

On Sept. 13, U.S. District Judge David Urias blocked the governor’s suspension of the

right to carry guns in public by issuing a temporary restraining order until another hearing is held in early October.

The governor’s move that was part of a wider effort to stem rampant drug abuse and gun violence in the state’s largest city and most populace county “violates the constitutional rights of New Mexicans,” Lord said in a news release.

“I am calling on counsel to begin the impeachment process against Governor Grisham,” Lord said in the release. “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. Even Grisham believes this emergency order won’t prohibit criminals from carrying or using weapons; a basic admission that this will only put New Mexicans in danger as they won’t be able to defend themselves from violent crime.”

In an interview this week, Lord said that impeachment preparations are proceeding.

“How we’re progressing is we’re drafting paperwork and getting ready to file,” she said. “We’ll take it to the House and after that it goes to the Senate side. So far, there hasn’t been an elected Democrat that has stepped up for her.”

Indeed, even state Attorney General Raúl Torrez sent the governor’s office a letter saying he could not represent the administration in the many lawsuits that have been filed in the wake of the pronouncement.

“What she did is such a gross overreach” Lord added. “What really frightens me, is she keeps doubling down and she believes that she has a right to demolish the constitution and her oath of office.”

Likewise, Allen announced last week that he would not back the governor.

“As the elected sheriff, I have reservations regarding this order,” he said in a news release. “While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our Constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold. I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts, as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense.”

While the order currently does not address areas outside of Bernalillo County, Frazee said he was compelled to make a statement about it, as well, just in case the governor extends the order.

“Taking firearms away from honest good people will not make us safer,” he said in the statement. “In fact, it makes us defenseless against those criminals who want to hurt us, and I will not be a part of that. Let me be very clear, if the governor's order ever extends to Torrance County, you may rest assured that I, as your sheriff, will have no part in enforcing her order nor will I require any deputy to follow that order.”

And the Schropps, reached as they were on their way to the county clerk’s office to register their party affiliation change, called the governor’s move “a debacle.”

“The governor has put me in an untenable position,” he added. “The distrust caused by her executive order will affect the way my constituents deal with me and the confidence that they have in me. She has kneecapped every Democrat in the state especially those in these rural counties.”

Ann Schropp said the move came at time when the Democrat Party was just starting to make some inroads in Torrance Cunty.

“What she has done to every rural county and in particular Torrance County is cut us off at the knees and I see no point spending the next year and a half trying to make one inch of progress,” she said. “This is a very contentious political climate in the county, the state and the country and she does something like this. This is an incredibly stupid political move.”

The gun orders that were included in a public health order, also directs:

· The Regulation and Licensing Division to conduct monthly inspections of licensed firearm dealers to ensure compliance with all sales and storage laws;

· The Department of Health, along with the Environment Department, to begin wastewater testing for illegal substances such as fentanyl at schools;

· The Department of Health to compile and issue a comprehensive report on gunshot victims presenting at hospitals in New Mexico, which shall include (if available): demographic data of gunshot victims, including age, gender, race, and ethnicity; data on gunshot victim’s healthcare outcomes; the brand and caliber of the firearm used; the general circumstances leading to the injury; the impact of gunshot victims on New Mexico’s healthcare system; and any other pertinent information.

It also includes a prohibition on firearms on state property, including state buildings and schools. This also includes other places of education where children gather, such as parks; directs the State Police to add officers in Albuquerque with funding for overtime provided and orders the Children, Youth and Families Department to immediately suspend the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative and evaluate juvenile probation protocols.

The governor’s release cited three recent shooting deaths of three Albuquerque youngsters, including an eleven-year-old boy Sept. 6 in a road rage incident in a parking lot following an Albuquerque Isotopes game as the impetus to declare a public health emergency and give her the power to issue her order.

“As I said (last week), the time for standard measures has passed,” she said in the release. “And when New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game – when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn – something is very wrong.”

But Lord said that still doesn’t empower the governor to impose these measures.

“I have a newsflash for the governor,” she wrote. “The Second Amendment is an absolute right and so is my authority to impeach you for violating your oath to New Mexico and the United States.”


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