On Friday, 9-8-23, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham issued Executive Order 2023-130 and declared gun violence “a statewide public health emergency of unknown duration.”
The public health order is statewide and prohibits the carrying of firearms in cities or counties that meet certain crime statistics. For now, the ban against public carrying of firearms for the lawful purpose of self-defense applies only to Albuquerque.
But as we know from the random lockdown protocols we experienced during the pandemic, restrictions can be expanded literally overnight. Even if someone is licensed to carry a concealed firearm the ‘health order’ prohibits it. NM State Police have been ordered to enforce the order with civil sanctions to include a $5,000 fine. The expansion of state police power for public health protection is dangerous.
The governor says she is empowered to halt constitutional rights under the incorrect claim that regulation is necessary to protect public health. Taking away the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves does not protect their health – it puts them in danger. And if the governor is allowed to trample 2nd Amendment rights – what’s next?
No one denies there is a crime crisis in our state and Albuquerque is the epicenter. The governor should focus her attention on criminals, not law-abiding citizens. There are checks and balances that give our state lawmakers the ability to stop the governor’s unlawful behavior.