Two prominent Democratic leaders in New Mexico pushed back on Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional order to ban gun possession using a public health provision, after they were contacted by the Daily Caller.
On Sept. 8, Lujan Grisham announced the order, which bans the possession of firearms for 30 days outside of private residences in the city of Albuquerque and its encompassing Bernalillo County, hours after claiming that neither the Constitution of the United States nor her oath as governor of New Mexico were absolute.
After the order received intense criticism by both gun control advocates as well as the state’s attorney general, who questioned the order’s constitutionality, the Daily Caller contacted New Mexico’s federal and state Democratic elected leaders about whether they supported the measure, and all but two did not respond.
“[W]e need to focus on solutions that are constitutional and enforceable. That’s what will save lives,” wrote Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, the state’s senior U.S. senator. The order is widely considered unconstitutional and highly violative of the Second Amendment.
The order’s complete disregard for Americans’ constitutional rights prompted New Mexico’s Democratic Attorney General Raúl Torrez to decline to defend the order in court.
“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,” wrote Torrez in a letter to Lujan Grisham that was published on Twitter, now known as X. “The Emergency Order will be found to violate both the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article II, Section 6 of the New Mexico Constitution.”
Just a day after the statement, Judge David Urias of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico issued an injunction preventing the ban from taking effect, following five lawsuits against Lujan Grisham for the order.
“Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits that their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights to publicly carry a firearm for self-defense will be violated if the [order] remains in effect,” Urias wrote.
After the significant legal and political challenges to the order, Lujan Grisham announced on Friday that she would amend the order, limiting its scope to public parks and places where children gather. However, she is still facing numerous calls to rescind the order entirely and even resign.
Heinrich was one of only two Democratic lawmakers to respond to the Daily Caller, the second being Democratic Rep. Gabe Vasquez of New Mexico’s Second Congressional District. His office shared a statement issued where he signals a departure from Lujan Grisham’s policy.
“We must address this crisis by keeping New Mexico families safe while also supporting solutions that are constitutional and protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Vasquez wrote, appearing to contrast constitutional measures with Lujan Grisham’s order.
Others, including Democratic Sheriff John Allen of Bernalillo County criticized Lujan Grisham for her decision — stating he was wary of placing deputies in “civil liability” conflicts — while Democratic state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces called on Lujan Grisham to rescind the measure.
“[T]his kind of approach leads to the over-policing of our communities, racial profiling, and increased misery in the lives of already marginalized people,” wrote an official of the American Civil Liberties Union in a statement about the governor’s order.
Apart from Heinrich and Vasquez, no other Democratic elected leader from New Mexico responded to questions. The Caller contacted Lt. Gov. Henry Morales, Sen. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico — Grisham’s cousin, and a member of the Lujan political family — Reps. Teresa Fernandez and Melanie Stansbury, State House Speaker Javier Martinez, State Sen. President Pro Tempore Mimi Stewart, State Sen. Majority Leader Peter Wirth, State Sen. Majority Whip Michael Padilla, State House Majority Leader Gail Chasey and State House Majority Whip Reena Szczepanski.
Lujan Grisham herself also did not respond to questions.
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