New Mexico governor revises emergency order, this time banning guns in parks and playgrounds

AP Photo/Morgan Lee

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham isn’t giving up on trying to ban her way to safety in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, despite her order suspending the right to carry being put on ice by a federal judge this week. At a press conference on Friday morning, the governor said she was not calling a special session, but instead announced a revised order banning concealed carry in public parks and playgrounds while removing the blanket prohibition on open and concealed carry throughout the city and county.


“We have amended the public places component of the gun violence aspect of the public health order. That is amended to be focused now, no open or concealed carry in public parks or playgrounds where we know we’ve got high risk of kids and families,” Grisham announced. “I want to remind everyone that we don’t allow guns in public government spaces, we don’t allow guns in here, we don’t allow guns in the federal courthouse, we don’t allow guns in the Roundhouse, and so we believe that is a strong position given the law.”

Of course, all those places that Grisham referenced have uniformed law enforcement, metal detectors, and other security precautions that aren’t going to be present at every park and playground in Bernalillo County. Those aren’t “sensitive places” in practice, even if the governor wants to deem them as such in theory. The outrageous fact is that Michelle Lujan Grisham wants every parent to leave their firearm behind, defenseless to protect their own kids at a time when she herself says violent crime is out of control. Hell, Grisham’s even admitted that criminals won’t be complying with her order, so she’s in essence instructing moms and dads to become high-value targets for thieves, robbers, and predators every time they want to enjoy an hour or so at the playground with their children.

Much of Grisham’s press conference revolved around her playing the victim, complaining about being compared to Hitler and al Queda and seemingly questioning why the First Amendment should protect that kind of speech, decrying Republicans for supposedly not offering any ideas to combat violent crime and supposedly increasing tensions through their “reckless” and “incredibly disgusting” criticisms, and denying that there’s any “rift” between herself and the many Democratic officials in the state who’ve objected to her order.


“Gun safety and gun violence hasn’t been addressed by any political party, in my view,” Grisham contended; ignoring the multiple gun control bills that she’s signed into law over the past five years. “If I made it uncomfortable, which was not the purpose, but when you try to build consensus on gun violence measures, I’m gonna tell you you cannot, more than we have in our legislature, which is a shining beacon of getting more gun violence safety measures done, certainly while I’ve been governor than any other, or most other, states in the country.”

So which is it? Has “gun safety” been addressed by the legislature or not? And if it has been, then what does that say about the “universal” background checks, “red flag” laws, and concealed carry restrictions that have been imposed by the Democratic majority since she was first sworn into office? I mean, if those laws were as effective as Grisham claimed them to be when she put pen to paper, why is she now declaring that crime has gotten so bad in the state’s most populous city and county that it’s an “emergency”?

I guess the governor doesn’t believe those measures have gone nearly far enough, and that the only real solution requires violating the constitutional rights of New Mexico residents and visitors.

As for trying to “build consensus”, both the Albuquerque police chief and Bernalillo County sheriff have said they had no idea that Grisham was going to declare their jurisdictions “gun-free zones” until a few minutes before she made the announcement. She wasn’t trying to get buy-in, she was hoping that they’d go along because she’s the top Democrat in the state and they’re supposed to be good foot soldiers (even though the chief of police is an appointed, not elected, position) for the Party. Since then she’s lashed out at other Democrats who’ve said she overstepped her authority, from California congressman Ted Lieu to New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez. Ironically, Grisham has helped create a consensus, just not the one she was hoping for. Instead of seeing her as a brave and valiant leader, the consensus seems to be that she’s a political hack looking to make a name for herself at the expense of the civil rights of the people she serves.


I’m starting to think that this whole charade is an effort to raise her profile as a potential 2024 candidate if Joe Biden were to decide not to run, though that may be giving her too much credit and political acumen. It could just as easily be that the governor simply doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution or combatting violent crime by going after the perpetrators rather than potential victims, and the fact that would appeal to a significant chunk of the Democratic base is just an added bonus.

As of the time of publication, there’s been no word from any of the law enforcement officers and agencies who declined to enforce Grisham’s original order about whether they’ll reverse course and start going after anyone bearing arms in a park or playground. Given New Mexico’s civil immunity laws, which allow for individual officers to be personally sued for violating someone’s civil rights, those agencies would be smart to keep the status quo in place while the courts sort out the constitutionality of Grisham’s latest attempt to unilaterally create “gun-free zones” on an open-ended basis.


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