New Mexico Sheriff Refuses to Enforce “Unconstitutional” Gun Ban

( – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has issued an emergency order suspending key Second Amendment rights around Albuquerque. Grisham says the move is necessary after several fatal shootings, but she’s faced warnings from her own officials that it’s unconstitutional. Now the sheriff responsible for enforcing the ban says he isn’t going to.

On September 8, Grisham signed an executive order that suspends the right to carry firearms in public in Bernalillo County and the city of Albuquerque for 30 days. It covers both open and concealed carry and applies to everyone except licensed security guards and law enforcement. She says the emergency measure is needed after a wave of gun violence, including a shooting that left an 11-year-old child dead.

However, the state’s Democrat Attorney General, Raul Torrez, has refused to back the law. He wrote to Grisham to tell her he was refusing to defend her administration in two lawsuits that have already been filed against her order, warning her that “my duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen takes precedence” over his obligation to defend state officials. On September 13, a federal judge agreed, issuing a temporary restraining order to block the key section of the order, the ban on legal gun owners carrying in public; District Court Judge David Urias called the ban “not enforceable.”

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen has also slammed the ban. At a September 11 press conference, he told reporters, “It’s unconstitutional, so there’s no way we can enforce that order.” He also warned that it would do nothing to prevent crime. Grisham quickly fired back, accusing Sheriff Allen of being “squeamish” and saying she needed action. However, with so many of her own officials refusing to cooperate with the executive order, and its central feature legally suspended, action is something she’s unlikely to get.       

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