PAIGE ROUX: Judge halts New Mexico governor's prohibition on public carry

A federal judge has blocked New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 30-day ban on open and concealed carry in Albuquerque.

Last week, Governor Grisham signed an executive order temporarily prohibiting individuals ;from carrying firearms in public spaces, declaring gun violence in her state to be a “public health emergency.” The order prompted many, both on the left and the right, to condemn the governor for stating that constitutional rights can be suspended in a time of emergency.

“No constitutional right, in my view, including my oath, is intended to be absolute,” Governor Grisham said. “There are restrictions on free speech, there are restrictions on my freedoms.”

During a press conference, one reporter asked the governor if she believed criminals would comply with the executive order, given that there are already laws against gun violence, to which she responded, “Uh— no. But here’s what I do think, it’s a pretty resounding message.”

Since the order has been in place, the Governor has been met with swift resistance from numerous firearm advocacy groups who immediately challenged its legality, vowing to pursue legal action.

Now, U.S. District Court Judge David Urias has ruled that the governor’s temporary ban is not only unconstitutional but also runs counter to recent Supreme Court decisions. The ruling comes after a hearing that involved several pro-gun groups seeking to see the order blocked.

In delivering his decision, Judge Urias articulated the underlying sentiment of the plaintiffs by simply stating, “They just want the right to carry their guns.”

Governor Grisham has become increasingly isolated in her efforts to prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms in public. Prior to the judge’s ruling, Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, whose jurisdiction includes the city of Albuquerque, publicly vowed not to enforce the ban.

“It’s unconstitutional, so there’s no way we can enforce that order,” Sheriff Allen said in a press conference. “This ban does nothing to curb gun violence.”

Likewise, New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez declared that he would not defend the state against these pending lawsuits, asserting that the governor’s order flagrantly violates the constitutional rights of the state’s citizens.

“Though I recognize my statutory obligation as New Mexico’s chief legal officer to defend state officials when they are sued in their official capacity,” AG Raul Torrez said, “my duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen takes precedence.”

Hannah Hill, the Executive Director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, which is the legal branch of the National Association for Gun Rights responsible for filing the lawsuit that resulted in the TRO, said, “We are thrilled to win a temporary restraining order today from a federal judge blocking the governor’s wildly unconstitutional public health gun ban. This ruling emphasizes what our legal team has said all along – there’s not a shadow of an excuse under the Supreme Court’s Heller and Bruen precedents for an executive to suspend the United States Constitution.”

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

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