We haven’t heard much from New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham over the past few weeks. In fact, ever since a federal judge gave the green light for her ban on open and concealed carry to be enforced at parks and playgrounds throughout Albuquerque and Bernalillo County the governor’s maintained near radio silence on the issue. The New Mexico State Police announced a few days ago that there expanded presence in the city, which was also a part of her public health order declaring a “gun violence” state of emergency in the city and county, has resulted in 140 arrests, but made no mention of any citations for violating Grisham’s carry ban, and it’s unclear at this point whether any law enforcement agency is actually enforcing her edict.
Grisham’s also avoided making specific demands of legislators in the next session, though I expect that will change as we get closer to January and the start of the 2024 session. While she’s keeping mum for now other anti-gun politicians are starting to make their own asks of lawmakers, including the mayor of Santa Fe.
A new proposal that could allow cities and counties to determine their own regulations on guns. Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber plans to introduce this proposal to the legislature to make public safety better.
“When we see something happen anywhere in America and lives are lost. Then local officials, a mayor or a county official in that community is put in the position of saying, I wish I’d done more. I wish I’d tried more,” Webber said.
Mayor Webber’s proposal would revise the state’s constitution to allow counties to have more control regulation.
“The point is simply to allow more local choice and more local control so that we at the local level can reflect the views of our residents and indicate that we take seriously trying to reduce or eliminate gun violence at the local level,” Webber said.
In other words, instead of one public official overstepping their constitutional authority, Webber wants every locality in the state to have that same power.
It won’t be easy for Webber to get his way, thankfully. The New Mexico constitution explicitly states “No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms,” so the state legislature doesn’t have the authority to approve a change on its own. Even if they approve Webber’s proposal, it would then have to be passed by a majority of New Mexico voters. According to one recent poll, 83% of voters in the state believe a “crackdown on criminals is the best way to keep families safe,” not targeting the Second Amendment rights of lawful gun owners. The poll also found 68% of survey respondents opposed to the governor’s executive order carry ban, and I doubt many of those folks would be eager to give their local mayor and city council the same power to enact ordinances infringing on their Second Amendment rights that the governor has used and abused.
Still, legislators might find Webber’s plan appealing since it would allow them to say they’re “doing something” without actually voting for more gun control laws themselves. His proposal will be just one of many gun control bills introduced at the Roundhouse in the coming weeks, and we’ll have a much better sense of how much support it has once formal legislation has been laid on the table and legislators have the chance to sign on as co-sponsors. In the meantime, New Mexico gun owners and Second Amendment supporters should be reaching out to their own representatives and senators and urge them to reject Webber’s plan to create hundreds of mini-Grishams across the state.