Federal judge temporarily blocks enforcement of NM gun ban

 September 15, 2023

Amid fiery backlash to a controversial gun ban instituted by Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a federal judge has put a temporary halt on enforcement of the measure, as The Hill reports.

The decision was handed down by U.S. District Judge David Urias on Wednesday and represents the latest development in the wake of Grisham's decision to prohibit open as well as concealed carry of firearms in Albuquerque.

Grisham's ban came in the form of a public health order designed to address rising gun violence in certain parts of the state, with Albuquerque and its environs the only areas to meet the criteria thus far.

The prohibitions at issue extended to any and all public places, open spaces, and governmental facilities, with the order poised to expire in 30 days, absent an extension from Grisham.

It did not take long for Second Amendment concerns about the order to arise and prompt lawsuits from a number of plaintiffs, including the Gun Owners of America (GOA), which almost immediately sought to enjoin Grisham's actions.

Urias expressed sympathy with Grisham's frustration over gun violence in the state she leads, saying, “I don't blame her for wanting to take action in the face of terrible acts,” but nevertheless granted the temporary restraining order sought by complainants, which will be effective until a hearing scheduled for Oct. 3.

In rendering his decision, Urias referenced recent Supreme Court decisions upholding the right of citizens to carry firearms outside the home for purposes of self-defense, as Reuters explained.

Following the ruling, Grisham stated, “Over the past four days, I've seen more attention on resolving the crisis of gun violence than I have in the past four years” and also expressed her desire for law enforcement to do more to address the crisis that spurred her action in the first place.

Dudley Brown, president of a gun owners' organization that challenged the order in court was pleased with the interim halt on enforcement of the order, saying, “Governor Grisham's tyranny is temporarily in check today.”

Grisham's order faced an uphill battle even before the court ruled on the restraining order, as Fox News noted, with Bernalillo County Sherrif John Allen having declared the public health edict invalid earlier in the week.

“It's unconstitutional, so there's no way we can enforce that order. This ban does nothing to curb gun violence,” Allen said.

The sheriff went on, “While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold. I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts, as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense.”

Grisham, however, was undeterred by the sheriff's take, saying, “I don't need a lecture on constitutionality from Sheriff Allen: what I need is action. What we need is for leaders to stand up for the victims of violent crime. We need law enforcement, district attorneys, public officials, school leaders and state agencies to use every single tool at their disposal to stop this violence. Period.”

Despite the lockstep manner in which Democrats typically tend to operate, even Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) took issue with Grisham's power grab, saying, as NBC News noted, “There is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution,” echoing the sentiments of countless Americans outraged by such a blatant governmental overreach.