Tuesday, November 28, 2023

New Mexico Gov. Looks to Renew Anti-Gun Fiat, Despite Prior Humiliation

'I support gun safety but there is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution....'

(Headline USARestrictions on carrying guns in public that are tied to an emergency public health order are going under the legal microscope Tuesday in New Mexico, where the far-left Democrat governor is testing the boundaries of her authority and constitutional law in response to violent crime in the state’s largest metro area.

The standoff is one of many in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last year expanding gun rights, as leaders in blue states explore new avenues for restrictions.

A court hearing was scheduled for the morning on legal challenges to the “public health order” from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that suspends the right to carry firearms in most public parks and playgrounds in and around Albuquerque.

Advocates for gun rights have filed a barrage of challenges to the 30-day mandate, which originally included broad restrictions on carrying guns in public.

However, local sheriffs and the state’s Democrat attorney general were among the many from Grisham’s own party who came forward to denounce the fiat as unconstitutional and said they would refuse to enforce it in what amounted to a humiliating betrayal to the governor.

Even David Hogg—the anti-gun activist who has spent the past six years capitalizing on his experiences as a survivor of the February 2017 Parkland, Fla., school shooting—said Grisham had gone too far.

The governor will reissue orders on gun violence and drug abuse for an additional 30 days, spokeswoman Maddy Hayden said Monday. She claimed the urgent approach was spurring arrests and reining in gunfire. The orders include directives for monthly inspections of firearms dealers statewide, reports on gunshot victims at New Mexico hospitals and wastewater testing for illicit substances.

U.S. District Judge David Urias ruled last month that gun restrictions in the governor’s original order were likely to cause irreparable harm to people deprived of the right to carry a gun in public for self-defense and granted a temporary restraining order blocking it until Tuesday’s hearing.

The governor has tied the suspension of some gun rights to a statistical threshold for violent crime that applied only to Albuquerque and the surrounding area.

Urias said in a recent court filing that restrictions on gun activity at playgrounds and other places where children play “may very well be constitutional.”

State police briefly would have authority under the order to assess civil penalties and fines of up to $5,000 for infractions.

The order has energized advocates for gun rights, including Republican lawmakers who have threatened impeachment proceedings against Grisham.

Some influential Democrats and civil rights leaders warn that the governor’s move could do more harm than good to overall efforts to ease gun violence, and the Democratic state attorney general has urged her to reconsider.

Other states including California, Washington, Colorado and Maryland have passed gun laws this year that face legal challenges.

Last week California’s Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed nearly two dozen gun control measures, including ones banning the carrying of firearms in most public places while doubling taxes on guns and ammunition sales.

Newsom has acknowledged some of the gun measures might not survive in the courts. Last month a federal judge struck down a state law banning guns with detachable magazines that carry more than 10 rounds.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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