New Mexico gun order similar to pandemic-era health orders, KSL legal analyst says

Sep 11, 2023, 3:00 PM

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen -- New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an emergency ...

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen calls New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's order suspending the carrying of firearms in the state's most populous metropolitan area unconstitutional during a news conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. Allen is among the other municipal law enforcement officials who have said they will not enforce the Democratic governor's order. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

(AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

NEW MEXICO — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an emergency order last week suspending open and concealed carry laws in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. The order is similar to the public health orders used during the pandemic.

Grisham’s order declared gun violence and drug abuse a public health emergency and temporarily banned the carrying of guns on public property — with certain exceptions.

The declaration came after multiple shootings in the state, some causing the deaths of three children from July through September.

KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas said many governors used similar orders during the pandemic. But, he said, it should be a decision that involves the legislature.

Listen to the full interview:


“It is an affront to the Second Amendment. It does seem to be something that probably should be done by something other than an executive order,” Skordas said.

There has been pushback by some law enforcement and elected officials, who said the order goes too far.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said Monday the order is unconstitutional and vowed not to enforce it.

Many gun owners turned out for a demonstration in Albuquerque on Sunday and brought their guns with them.

Due to this lack of enforcement, Skordas said the order may not have any teeth. He said this order could just be symbolic.

“Maybe the governor is saying ‘Hey somebody needs to do something,’ even if it is unenforceable,” Skordas said.

“But you would expect that she would propose legislation. Talk to her legislature, talk to some groups, do what they can to maybe put in place some restrictions that would pass some constitutional inspections. This probably doesn’t.”

The National Association for Gun Rights already filed a lawsuit against the governor.

According to the lawsuit, “The State must justify the Carry Prohibition by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. But it is impossible for the State to meet this burden because there is no such historical tradition of firearms regulation in this Nation.”

Skordas said he thinks the lawsuit won’t be able to have any effect on the current order. This is because the order only lasts 30 days, and it will take longer for the courts to resolve it.

Some members of the New Mexico legislature are already calling for the governor’s impeachment.

Related: Gun rights organizations sue New Mexico governor over gun violence order

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New Mexico gun order similar to pandemic-era health orders, KSL legal analyst says