When New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham decided to unilaterally impose a ban on open and concealed carry in the state’s most populous city and county, Zac Fort took action. The treasurer of the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association and Albuquerque resident filed suit alongside the Firearms Policy Coalition, Second Amendment Foundation, and the NMSSA to block the governor’s edict from being enforced, and successfully obtained a temporary restraining order against the governor’s order less than a week after she made her official announcement.
As Fort explains on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, the TRO that was issued is hardly the end of the story when it comes to Grisham’s attempt to suspend the exercise of a civil right. The governor revised her order shortly after U.S. District Judge David H. Urias granted the TRO, limiting her ban to parks and playgrounds in the city and county in the hope that her narrowly crafted revision will be allowed to stand. Fort tells Bearing Arms that he hasn’t heard of any law enforcement agency or officer who’s willing to enforce her second mandate, and the TRO that was granted does include parks and playgrounds in the list of areas where the governor’s order is enjoined from being enforced.
In other words, it sure looks like Grisham’s revised order is being as widely ignored as her original mandate, though that isn’t getting nearly as much attention as the blowback to her first proclamation received. Still, a new poll of nearly 1,400 likely voters commissioned by the New Mexico Shooting Sports Foundation found that the disapproval of the governor’s actions is widespread and bipartisan, with 68% of those surveyed opposed to the governor’s order. Just 7% of respondents believe that disarming law-abiding citizens, as Grisham tried to do, will make the state a safer place.
“Rather than making sure that people who have warrants are arrested and have their day in court, making sure we keep violent people behind bars, she decided to go with this sweeping attack on gun owners,” Fort told Bearing Arms. “I think there is some part of her that genuinely believes that because we oppose her politically we are the problem in this state. That gun owners, because we don’t agree with her, have become the problem. I think there’s a part of her that genuinely believes that. And that’s why it’s so important that we talk to gun owners all across the state, because New Mexico is a very blue state, we’re also a rural state, and there are a lot of rural Democrats who are gun owners, who support their rights, but they still vote for some of these politicians who are very anti-gun.”
That would include Grisham, who was re-elected last year with 52% of the vote and about 45,000 more votes statewide than Republican candidate Mark Ronchetti. But Fort believes that the governor’s attempt to disarm responsible gun owners has been a wakeup call for many. He noted that after Grisham made her announcement and the first lawsuits were filed, the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association saw a bump in membership and many gun stores across the state have reported an increase in sales.
Now Fort says the NMSSA is engaging with as many of those newly-inspired Second Amendment advocates as they can, encouraging them to make their feelings known to their state representatives and senators ahead of next year’s 30-day legislative session. There’ll likely be a large number of anti-gun proposals coming from Grisham’s legislative allies, including bans on so-called assault weapons, waiting periods, and raising the age to purchase a firearm; all previously backed by Grisham but rejected by lawmakers this year. We may even see bills creating new “gun-free zones”, as states like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, and California have done, but Fort says even though Democrats control both chambers none of those measures are guaranteed to pass.
In fact, Fort says that Grisham’s ham-handed attempt to unilaterally impose a carry ban may end up backfiring on her and providing new opportunities for a bipartisan approach to public safety that focuses on violent and repeat offenders instead of trying to turn legal gun owners into felons by creating non-violent, possessory offenses.
That would be the ideal outcome of the next session, and by the time it gavels in next January the governor will almost certainly have received another legal drubbing from Judge Urias. A hearing on a full injunction against the governor’s original and revised order is slated for early October, and I’ve already extended an invite to Fort to join me on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co once it takes place. In the meantime, check out the entire conversation with Zac Fort in the video window below and stay tuned for more, because Michelle Lujan Grisham’s attempted tyranny isn’t over yet.