If you follow right-wing media outlets, lawmakers, and talking heads, you are probably going to hear a lot in the coming days about New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and her decision to declare a public health emergency concerning gun violence. This overview of what is actually happening in New Mexico will help you discern fact and fiction.
Listen To This Story
Chances are that, in the coming days, you are going to hear a lot about New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and her decision to declare a public health emergency, based on which it will be temporarily illegal to carry guns in public or state properties in Albuquerque for 30 days.
Well, at least you will if you follow right-wing media outlets, lawmakers, and talking heads, which is also why a lot of it will be wrong or hyperbolic. That is why this overview of what is actually happening in New Mexico will help you discern fact and fiction.
For conservatives, it is a great issue to seize on because it involves a Democrat coming for their guns and ignoring the Constitution.
The former is complete nonsense and the latter will be sorted out by the courts.
What Exactly Happened?
On Thursday, Lujan Grisham issued an executive order that declares a public health emergency due to gun violence.
It notes that New Mexico has some of the highest rates of gun violence in the US and that shootings are the leading cause of death among the state’s children and teenagers.
Lujan Grisham also notes that gun-related fatalities and injuries are devastating New Mexico families while also straining the state’s health care system.
In response, the Department of Health issued an order prohibiting the possession of firearms in public in those parts of the state that meet certain criteria. However, ultimately, it only affects the Albuquerque metropolitan area.
In addition, there are plenty of exceptions. The order does not apply to law enforcement or licensed security officers, and licensed gun owners can transport properly secured firearms to and from the places where they are permitted, such as private residence, gunsmiths, or firing ranges.
Therefore, the order is not designed so that guns will be taken away from anybody as long as they are not being carried in public, and anybody saying otherwise is not being honest.
Is This Constitutional?
The question of whether or not this is constitutional is much more difficult to answer. Does a health emergency supersede the Constitution — in this case the Second Amendment?
Even Lujan Grisham said that she is not sure whether her order would hold up in court, where it is already being challenged by various gun lobbying groups.
However, at a press conference on Friday, the governor said she felt compelled to do something after three children were killed by gun violence in recent weeks.
While it is universally maligned on the right, her decision also drew criticism from members of her own party.
“I support gun safety laws. However, this order from the Governor of New Mexico violates the U.S. Constitution,” tweeted Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). “No state in the union can suspend the federal Constitution. There is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution.”
John Allen, the sheriff of Bernalillo County, which is the one place where the ban applies, also voiced his concerns.
“I have reservations regarding this order. While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our Constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold,” he said. “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 ban is supposed to only last 30 days initially, the governor made it sound as though it would be extended, but perhaps in a modified version.
However, by then it might already have been halted by the courts.