It’s been a couple weeks since we last talked about New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D) efforts to abuse her authority and enact a clearly unconstitutional 30-day ban on law-abiding citizens carrying a firearm for self-defense in Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County. We suggested it was little more than a PR stunt on the governor’s part, considering how obvious it was that she did not have the authority to do what she tried to do, the fact that she openly admitted that criminals would not be likely to obey her order—much as they refuse to obey any number of other laws that outlaw their actions—and the fact that there was absolutely no enforcement of the ban over the first weekend it was in place.
And when we say there was no enforcement, we know that because there were people openly protesting the ban, many in clear “violation” of it, with no arrests made or citations issued for non-compliance.
When a judge appointed by none other than Joe Biden—the most anti-gun president in this nation’s history—quickly issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against enforcing Lujan Grisham’s ridiculous power-grab, she amended her demand to apply to “public parks or playgrounds” in the affected area, but the TRO remained in effect.
That same judge, however, has now allowed the amended prohibition on carrying a firearm in “public parks or playgrounds” to be enforceable—even if the firearm is carried by a law-abiding citizen who wishes to do so to provide for self-defense, and is doing so in accordance with all other New Mexico laws in all other areas of the state not subject to the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County-specific edict.
Considering this decision, we anticipate Lujan Grisham will likely try to expand her publicity stunt to other areas of the state, if not throughout it entirely. Legal challenges to the order will continue to work their way through the courts, however, including one filed by NRA.
Prior to the judge’s decision on October 11, that amended order was extended for an additional 30 days. Also added to the governor’s order was yet another publicity stunt—the call for the implementation of gun turn-in programs within 30 days in the cities of Albuquerque, Espanola, and Las Cruces.
While most in the anti-gun community refer to programs where the government encourages citizens to voluntarily hand over their firearms as “gun buy-back” programs, the order uses the term “safe surrender events.” To confuse matters more, the order never actually references the program entails people turning in firearms, although the governor has made clear in public statements that is what she intends to happen.
Anyone who truly understands how criminals operate knows gun turn-in programs have always been little more than anti-gun publicity stunts, and do nothing to diminish violent crime. Criminals are never going to voluntarily turn in a tool of their illicit trade—with the possible exception of getting rid of a gun used in a crime that could be traced back to them, or to make some quick money off of a firearm they have stolen and do not need.
Studies have found little evidence to suggest gun turn-in programs work as intended, with a recent one from the National Bureau of Economic Research finding “no evidence that (gun turn-in programs) reduce suicides or homicides where a firearm was involved.”
Just as with the original order, this extended and amended order is just more desperate anti-gun virtue signaling on the part of the governor. It has little to do with effective policy making when it comes to addressing violent crime where firearms are involved.
In fact, during a recent discussion about her efforts to negate the Second Amendment, she all but proclaimed that she had no reason to try to eliminate the lawful carrying of firearms for self-defense. At an October 10 press conference, one day before the judge’s decision to lift the TRO that prohibited enforcement of the Lujan Grisham ban on carrying in “public parks and playgrounds,” the governor and her people tried to proclaim how successful her actions have been.
Ben Baker, her Senior Public Safety Advisor, boasted that 502 people had been arrested, 20 firearms seized, 1,370 traffic citations were issued, and even made the claim—although likely difficult to verify—that there had been a “lower number of shots fired in the communities” affected by the order since the governor issued it. He also implied, by making anecdotal reference to two repeat violent offenders that had been arrested, that the increased arrests were making the streets safer by putting known criminals behind bars.
If all of that is true, that’s great, but it proves the point that the attempt to curtail the lawful carrying of firearms was unnecessary, and, as we have said, little more than a publicity stunt. After all, this reported “success” covers a time period when the governor’s order, as it relates to carrying firearms in public, was subject to a TRO, so it was not being enforced. Unless she and law enforcement are admitting to violating the TRO, which we doubt is the case.
In other words, by doing what we have always encouraged—targeting known violent criminals while leaving law-abiding gun owners alone—they were apparently able to get known violent criminals off the street and behind bars.
The pro-Second Amendment community has consistently pointed out that no new gun laws are needed to go after the bad actors who use firearms in an illegal manner. Governor Lujan Grisham seems to be verifying this viewpoint, in spite of her anti-gun posturing.
As for her true goal of simply seeking attention, while she has received quite a bit of it, none of it has been good. She has been excoriated by those who support our right to keep and bear arms, is named in countless lawsuits challenging her unconstitutional order, was asked by New Mexico legislators from BOTH parties to rescind her radical order, and was even called out by some anti-gun extremists for promoting an order even they pointed out is unconstitutional.
And as we previously noted, not a single anti-gun organization praised her order, has defended it or her, or has even mentioned it. It’s almost as if they are just hoping it will go away, as even they understand it presents a major problem with their repeated dishonest claims that they “support” the Second Amendment, but (insert any proposed anti-gun law) is just “common sense.”
Governor Lujan Grisham doesn’t appear ready to admit she already has the tools necessary to combat violent criminals, or that her order is unconstitutional. In fact, we would not be surprised to see her ratchet up her assaults on the Second Amendment, as well as continue to promote do-nothing publicity stunts like voluntary gun turn-ins. NRA will continue to fight back with a steady defense of law-abiding gun owners, including in the courtroom, so stay tuned for further updates.