New Mexico governor confronted over constitutionality of gun rights suspension: ‘Where is the right?’

Gun Rights

Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was pressed Tuesday over her emergency order to temporarily suspend significant gun rights in the Albuquerque area.

During an episode of “CNN This Morning,” host Poppy Harlow countered Lujan Grisham’s justification for the temporary restriction of the right to publicly conceal-carry or open-carry their weapons in the city and its surrounding county, suggesting her decision was “unconstitutional.”

After Harlow asked the governor if she believes she’s on solid ground to make such an order, Lujan Grisham said she “will see,” and made sure to characterize the order as a “pause” on carrying, not a “ban.”

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Lujan Grisham on CNN This Morning

CNNs Poppy Harlow asks Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham about the legality of her new firearm carry suspension. (Screenshot/CNN)

Lujan Grisham sparked controversy when she issued the emergency order over the weekend suspending the right for non-law enforcement firearm owners to open-carry and conceal-carry in Albuquerque for 30 days.

The state leader justified the decision after declaring a public health emergency of gun violence. Various Second Amendment rights groups and Albuquerque residents have already sued the governor for her decision, while some law enforcement officers have declared they will not enforce the order.

Harlow’s segment with Lujan Grisham began with the host mentioning people’s belief that the governor’s decision is “unconstitutional.” 

“Why do it if it can’t be enforced?” Harlow asked.

“Well, that’s their opinion,” Lujan Grisham said. “They have no bold actions. They don’t have any plans for reducing gun violence, every single aspect in terms of preventing gun violence – funds, crime labs, more than $150 million for retention bonuses and recruitment of police officers.”

She added, “I’m focused on one thing: we have the third-highest gun-related injuries in the country, 90 percent higher than the national average. We lost 143 children between 2017 and 2021. It is unacceptable, and it calls for immediate and swift and bold action. And frankly the evidence bears out over and over again, fewer guns on the streets makes everyone safer.”

“I’m focused on everyone’s constitutional rights, not just those the NRA says I should be focused on.”

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NM gun rally

More than 100 protesters openly carried firearms in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to rally against Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s temporary gun rights suspension. (Credit: Daniel Montaño/News2Share)

The governor continued stressing how her emergency order represents “bolder” action that will make everyone safe, and added, “It’s not for police to tell me what’s constitutional or not.”

Harlow acknowledged the gun violence that has taken young lives in the state, but still pressed her on the constitutionality of the order. “But we also have, governor, the Constitution of New Mexico and the Constitution of the United States, and you’re an attorney,” the host said, asking, “Do you think you’re on solid constitutional ground here?”

“Well, we’re going to see,” she replied. “I mean, look, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think I had the right. I have the right.”

Harlow pushed harder: “But where is the right? Where is the right?”  Grisham replied, “In the state of New Mexico, public heal – it’s a suspension, it’s not a ban.”

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