If Michelle Lujan Grisham thinks that she can ride out the wave of opposition to her unconstitutional order suspending the right to carry in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County without lasting damage to her political career, a pair of Republican lawmakers are ready to remind her (as well as their colleagues) of her willful violation of her oath of office.
Though Grisham’s original order has been put on ice by a federal judge, the governor announced a scaled-back version last week limiting her ban solely to parks and playgrounds in the city and county; a move that appears to be no more constitutional than her first edict. And since the governor is continuing in her gun-banning ways, the Republican minority in the state House is still moving forward with their impeachment effort.
Reps. John Block of Alamogordo and Stefani Lord of Sandia Park this week launched a certificate form for lawmakers to sign calling for an extraordinary session to impeach Lujan Grisham over an executive order prohibiting carrying open or concealed firearms in public in Albuquerque and across Bernalillo County.
The governor ordered the 30-day gun ban, part of an effort to stem gun violence in New Mexico’s most populous city, after the shooting death of an 11-year-old boy — another casualty in a city beset by crime. The ban also triggered widespread criticism of the governor, who said no constitutional right, in her view, is intended to be absolute.
“The U.S. Constitution is absolute and designed to protect the rights of the people against tyrannical decisions like Governor Lujan [Grisham] attempted to do,” Lord, a staunch gun rights advocate, said in a statement.
Block called the governor’s actions “despotic.”
“We must nip this governor’s lawlessness in the bud, which is why we have led the charge since day one to see the governor impeached,” he said in a statement. “We mustn’t fail in this effort, or else every petty tyrant across the land will use Lujan Grisham’s illegal actions as precedent to seize more power by trampling on Americans’ rights.”
“New Mexicans are rightfully angry and confused by the governor’s actions, [and] that is why we are exploring every avenue to ensure American freedoms are never again threatened by a single politician acting unilaterally,” House Minority Leader Ryan Lane, R-Aztec, said in a statement.
House Republicans “are pursuing emergency action in the [state] Supreme Court to ensure such an unlawful attack on the [state] Constitution never happens again,” Lane added. “We will also continue to pursue commonsense anti-crime policies even while progressive Democrats continue to ignore the mounting crime problem.”
A spokesperson for Grisham called the move “political theater”, which seems like a case of projection to me. Grisham’s order was pure political theater… and not one with high production values. Instead, her move was the political equivalent of putting on a one-woman show for a musical designed for a cast of thousands. Instead of a chorus of voices singing her praises, the governor found herself isolated and alone with no law enforcement agency willing to enforce her demand to disarm.
While we’ve seen quite a few Democrats publicly condemn the governor’s order and demand she rescind it, it’s still likely to be an uphill battle to get the governor’s legislative allies to actually vote in favor of impeachment. Given the flagrant violation of her oath of office and her insistence that lawful gun owners are to blame for the high rates of violent crime in New Mexico’s biggest city I think impeachment is the right call for Republicans to make. Now it’s up to them (and voters) to make the argument that fealty to party leaders should never trump the civil rights of their constituents and that their duty is ultimately to the people of New Mexico and not its gun-hating governor.