New Mexico’s Governor Now Wants What?

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posted on October 12, 2023
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Drew Tarvin courtesy Flickr

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) thought she could just arbitrarily take away citizen’s Second Amendment rights in public places. In spite of a lot of pushback, Lujan Grisham decided to renew her executive order–which originally included a prohibition on carrying firearms in all public places in Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County but was amended to cover only “public parks or playgrounds” after a temporary restraining order (TRO) against enforcing the initial ban was issued—extending what is now a ban on carry in parks and playgrounds for another 30 days. However, a federal judge  recently upheld Lujan Grisham’s ban on carrying in parks and playgrounds.

In doing so, she displayed a gross lack of understanding about who or what is responsible for violent crime and murder in New Mexico. She blames guns, not criminals.

“The fact of the matter is that New Mexicans are still being threatened, injured and killed by firearms,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said in announcing her renewal of the executive order. “We’re not letting up.”

Along with the ban extension, Gov. Lujan Grisham added a new, equally ridiculous provision to her latest executive order. The new order states, “The New Mexico Department of Public Safety shall organize safe surrender events (also known as “gun buybacks”) in the cities of Albuquerque, Española, and Las Cruces within thirty days.”

Lujan Grisham previously announced an executive order suspending the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County for at least 30 days under the guise of a public-health emergency. The outcry over the unconstitutional order was substantial, and the NRA filed a legal challenge against the governor and Department of Health Secretary Patrick Allen’s scheme.

“Please rescind your unlawful and blatantly unconstitutional orders and uphold your oath to defend the constitutional rights of those in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County,” Randy Kozuch, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, wrote to Lujan Grisham. “Until then, we’ll see you in court.”

At the time, the governor actually said that she doesn’t expect criminals to follow the order. She just hoped it would send “a resounding message” to everyone else—meaning those who lawfully carry.

“The point here is, is that, if everyone did it, and I wasn’t legally challenged, you would have fewer risks on the street, and I could safely say, to every New Mexican, particularly those folks living in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, I believe that you’re safer for the next 30 days, we have to wait and see,” she said.

If there’s anything more worthless than banning guns for law-abiding citizens while criminals continue to carry and use their firearms for nefarious activities—this is why they’re called “criminals”—it is so-called government-sponsored gun “buybacks.” Before adding that provision, it would have been prudent for Gov. Grisham to read a 2021 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“Using data from the National Incident Based Reporting System, we find no evidence that gun buyback programs (GBPs) reduce gun crime,” the study concluded. “Using data from the National Vital Statistics System, we also find no evidence that GBPs reduce suicides or homicides where a firearm was involved.” 

Along with the carry ban and “buybacks,” the new executive order also includes a provision for trigger locks, stating, “Trigger locks shall be made available free of charge to all firearm owners, provided that each firearm owner shall only be entitled to one free trigger lock.”

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with making trigger locks available to those who want them—all new firearms come provided with one as part of the firearm industry’s extensive effort to encourage any number of options to consider when determining how best to implement safe gun storage practices; in fact, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which President Joe Biden (D) and other gun-control supporters are seeking to have overturned, includes a provision that requires firearm retailers to provide a safety locking device with each handgun they transfer.

As for the real root of the problem that Gov. Lujan Grisham chooses to ignore—violent criminals—the thought that they will use government-supplied locks to secure their guns is simply laughable. 

In the end, the New Mexico governor has again applied the wrong solution to the problem of criminal violence. Instead of finding, arresting, and prosecuting criminals, she’s used her executive powers to continue to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens.

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