“At the risk of stating what should be obvious, deliberately violating the Constitution is next-level illegal. How soon can this person be removed from office?”

– Elon Musk on the temporary New Mexico gun ban

The power of the county

ONE OF THE UNIQUE things about the US is the role that counties play in their local communities.

Unlike councils in Australia, many of them have their own police departments, and manage things that would normally be handled by state governments.

New Mexico governor goes rogue

 New Mexico’s anti-gun governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, announced a 30-day

emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in most public places, from city sidewalks to parks in Albuquerque’s Bernalillo county issued after a spate of shootings.

“No person, other than a law enforcement officer or licensed security officer, shall possess a firearm … either openly or concealed,” the order states.

The immediate reaction from gun groups has been to launch law suits to overturn the order – not because they don’t like it, but because restrictions of that type belong to the federal government, not county administrations.

Governor Grisham’s order comes after recent supreme court decisions which supported the rights of shooters to carry firearms under the Second Amendment.

Gun groups immediate response

President of the National Association for Gun Rights, Dudley Brown, accused the governor of “throwing up a middle finger to the constitution and the supreme court”.

“Her executive order is in blatant disregard for Bruen. She needs to be held accountable for stripping the God-given rights of millions away with the stroke of a pen,” he said, referring to a recent landmark ruling in favour of shooters.

Using safety as the excuses

Governor Grisham said the state needed “to use the power of a public health [order] in a state of emergency to access different levels, different resources and different opportunities to keep New Mexicans safe”.

It’s reminiscent of when gun shops in three states in Australia were closed down because of an unfounded fear shooters would hoard guns and ammo.
Grisham’s order calls for monthly inspections of firearms dealers statewide to ensure compliance with gun laws.

What also sets the US apart from Australia, is the willingness of the opposition to call inappropriate restrictions on shooters out.

New Mexico Republican state senate minority leader, Greg Baca, described Lujan Grisham’s order as “egregiously unconstitutional” and said he was preparing a legal challenge.

The New Mexico house minority leader, T Ryan Lane, also a Republican, dismissed the governor’s order as “a political stunt”.

Imagine if we saw that kind of political response here!

Even local law makers disagree

Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman, who was appointed by Grisham, on joined Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Harold Medina saying they wouldn’t enforce the order.

“As an officer of the court, I cannot and will not enforce something that is clearly unconstitutional,” said Bregman, the top prosecutor in the Albuquerque area.

“This office will continue to focus on criminals of any age that use guns in the commission of a crime.”

It doesn’t stop there.  Police also say they are unlikely to enforce the order, partly because they don’t support it but because officers who unlawfully deny a person’s liberty are now subject to the risk of civil claims of up to $2m per claim.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said he was uneasy about how gun owners might respond.

“I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts,” Allen said, “as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense.”

Police spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said enforcing the order also could put Albuquerque police in a difficult position with a U.S. Department of Justice police reform settlement.

Tesla boss, Elon Musk, weighs in

The Governor’s move in the face of the US constitution even caught the attention of Musk, who wrote on X:

“At the risk of stating what should be obvious, deliberately violating the Constitution is next-level illegal. How soon can this person be removed from office? ”

It’s the kind of response we’d love to see here

The response to Governor Grisham’s order was swift and universal.  There’s no doubt what she did will cost her political support.

Regardless of what you might think about the system of gun laws in the US, it’s clearly refreshing to see bad decisions get slapped down this way from political opponents, lawmakers, law enforcers and those in the corporate world.

We just wish we could see that happen here

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