In a bold move, New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez has announced that he will not defend Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's executive order suspending open and concealed carry across Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. Torrez believes that the order is unconstitutional and that it will not have a significant impact on public safety. This decision has sparked controversy and led to calls for Governor Grisham's impeachment by Republican lawmakers. In this article, we will delve into the details of this ongoing dispute, examining the arguments made by both sides and the potential implications for the people of New Mexico.
The Executive Order and Its Rationale
On September 7, Governor Lujan Grisham issued an executive order suspending open and concealed carry in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County for a minimum of 30 days. The order was issued in response to recent gun-related deaths, including the tragic shooting of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball stadium. Governor Grisham classified the suspension as an emergency public health order, arguing that it was necessary to address the rising gun violence in the area.
Attorney General Torrez's Decision
In a letter addressed to Governor Grisham, Attorney General Torrez made it clear that he would not defend her administration in the lawsuits challenging the executive order. While acknowledging his statutory obligation to defend state officials, Torrez emphasized his duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen. He expressed his belief that the executive order is not only ineffective in improving public safety but also likely to violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
"Simply put, I do not believe that the Emergency Order will have any meaningful impact on public safety but, more importantly, I do not believe it passes constitutional muster." - Attorney General Raul Torrez
Torrez also criticized Governor Grisham for taking unilateral action without engaging in a more collaborative and thoughtful process with members of the New Mexico Legislature. He argued that infringing on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens is not an effective solution to address the underlying dynamics driving gun violence in the community.
Governor Grisham's Response
In response to the Attorney General's decision, Governor Grisham's press secretary, Caroline Sweeney, clarified that the governor did not request Torrez to defend the order in court. Sweeney reiterated that the governor's intention was to seek proactive partners in addressing the issue of gun violence and making New Mexicans safer. She emphasized that the order does not suspend the Constitution but rather state laws falling under the governor's jurisdiction.
"The governor is looking for proactive partners who will bring solutions to the table - not naysayers who have no real answers to the gun violence epidemic we are faced with." - Caroline Sweeney, Press Secretary for Governor Grisham
Calls for Impeachment
The controversy surrounding the executive order has led Republican state representatives Stefani Lord and John Block to call for Governor Grisham's impeachment. Lord criticized the order as an attempt to impose a radical, progressive agenda on an unwilling population. She argued that instead of addressing the root causes of crime, the governor is restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Lord described Governor Grisham as a "rogue governor" and stressed the importance of allowing New Mexicans to defend themselves against violent crime.
Lawsuits Against the Executive Order
The National Association for Gun Rights, along with Albuquerque resident Foster Haines, filed a lawsuit against Governor Grisham and Secretary of Health Patrick Allen, challenging the constitutionality of the emergency order. They are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the order from being enforced. The lawsuit argues that the executive order infringes on the Second Amendment rights of New Mexico residents and fails to address the real issues contributing to gun violence.
Implications and Future Developments
The refusal of New Mexico's Attorney General to defend Governor Grisham's executive order sets the stage for a legal battle over the constitutionality of the suspension of open and concealed carry. The outcome of the lawsuits and the potential impeachment proceedings against Governor Grisham will have far-reaching implications for gun rights and public safety in New Mexico. As the situation continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how this dispute will be resolved and what impact it will have on the state and its residents.