New Mexico Quietly Bans Gun Shows From State-Owned Property

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Two years ago, the Democrats in control of the state legislature and governor’s mansion in New Mexico rammed through a universal background check bill over the objections of most of the state’s county sheriffs and tens of thousands of law-abiding gun owners, but the anti-gun politicians haven’t stopped there. Last year they imposed a red-flag law on the state, and now it appears that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has set her sights on gun shows.

According to NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the New Mexico Gun Collectors Association and the Rocky Mountain Gun Shows have both been told that upcoming shows scheduled to take place at EXPO New Mexico at the State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque have been cancelled because the state is no longer allowing gun shows to take place on state-owned property; a decision that was apparently made without any public input or knowledge.

EXPO New Mexico is a state agency that, according to its website, works closely with the State Fair Commission to carry out day-to-day operations and host and produce events at the facility.  Governor Lujan Grisham appointed all seven members of the State Fair Commission back in September of 2019.  From the Commission’s website, it appears that the last time the Commission gave notice about a meeting, when it actually met, and the last meeting for which minutes are available, was January of 2020.  Nothing in those minutes mentions EXPO staff or the Commission taking action to end gun shows at the State Fairgrounds.  Further, the New Mexico Legislature has not adopted legislation prohibiting such events on state property.  So where does this sudden misguided policy change come from?

All signs point to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.  Not to be outdone by her Left Coast recall colleague Gavin Newsom and anti-gun extremist lawmakers in the California Legislature who are considering a similar ban, she appears to have wildly wielded her executive power to use a state agency to target gun owners and throw a pre-election year bone to radical gun control activists.  This is in spite of the fact that just two years ago, she signed into law NRA-opposed Senate Bill 8, the so-called “universal background check” bill, which supposedly closed the non-existent “gun show loophole” and required criminal records checks on private firearms sales at such events.

We’ve all heard gun control activists complain about the “gun show loophole” that supposedly allows for criminals acquire truckloads of guns without going through background checks, but that argument doesn’t fly in New Mexico. Every transfer of a firearm in the state is now supposed to go through a background check, regardless of whether or not the seller is a federally licensed firearms retailer or just a private citizen selling a gun from their collection.

Even with those restrictions in place, the Democrats in charge in New Mexico are still taking aim at gun shows, which goes to show that their objections were never really based on any specific law or policy. Instead, they’ve made it clear that they’re opposed to the very idea of gun sales to anyone, regardless of whether or not they go through a background check.

I have no idea what legal options the New Mexico Gun Collectors Association and the Rocky Mountain Gun Shows might have regarding the cancellation of their shows, but I hope they’re talking to a good attorney. In the meantime, since EXPO New Mexico is a state agency, it sounds like it’s time to start making some Freedom of Information Act requests for all documents related to the policy change. Anti-gun activists want to make these decisions in the shadows, but we can use our First Amendment rights to bring their anti-Second Amendment views into the sunlight.