From the Editor | This is the Civil-Rights Battle of Today

by
posted on October 25, 2023
Frank Miniter

“New Mexico Criminals Excited to Hear No One Will Be Armed for Entire Month,” said a headline in the satirical publication The Babylon Bee. Only this wasn’t satire. It was simply true.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced in early September that law-abiding citizens in her state could no longer lawfully carry firearms, either openly or concealed, for personal protection in certain areas. She simply decided that she has the power to take away a civil right that’s specifically protected by the U.S. Bill of Rights. She doesn’t.

This wasn’t just a political overreach from an ideologue. Gov. Lujan Grisham dimly bought into the narrative that America’s armed citizens are to blame for crime rates. Despite all the gun-contol crowd's praise for this false claim, the political invention that America’s law-abiding gun owners are responsible for a rise in the crime rate is so provably untrue our mainstream media should be too embarrassed to print it. Even politicians who want this false narrative to be true should know better than to try to sell it.

NRA members are not doing drive-bys. Armed citizens in constitutional-carry states are not causing Wild West-style shootouts in the streets. Studies done in Florida and Texas have shown that citizens with concealed-carry permits actually commit fewer crimes than even police officers do. Indeed, as gun sales boomed from 2000-2020, violent-crime rates largely fell in the U.S.—what’s the correlation there?

Still, this is the falsehood New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham cited when she announced a moratorium on the right to carry guns in public across Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County.

Gov. Lujan Grisham claims this martial-law-style repeal of a basic constitutional right is in response to violence in the city. But, even she admitted that criminals are unlikely to follow her unconstitutional orders.

Though this move by New Mexico’s governor should be easy to defeat in the courts—after all, the U.S. Supreme Court recently solidified the right to carry outside the home in the NRA-backed case New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (2022)—this civil-rights struggle is now ongoing across America.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and President Joe Biden (D)—to name just two current politicians—also publicly repeat the same political lie that citizens who exercise this right are a problem for society.

One would hope that such politicians are smart enough to know this claim isn’t true. Indeed, any astute political observer might conclude that they just find it politically convenient to blame your freedom; after all, if they get away with this ploy, then they’ve made the American public more subservient to their big-government edicts. If they don’t get away with this falsehood … well, off-camera, they might argue that most freedom-loving voters will already vote against them anyway.

This feels like a massive political miscalculation. Since 2020, millions of Americans bought their first guns, and these citizens are hardly a politically monolithic group.

Indeed, Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, a Democrat, said, “This order will not do anything to curb gun violence other than punish law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense.”

That’s the kind of common-sense response that could bring this country back together behind our shared values, which begin with the U.S. Bill of Rights.

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