Gun Control Off the Table in New Mexico Special Session?

Townhall Media

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has officially announced she's calling a special session of the legislature this July to deal with "public safety" issues, but for the moment, anyway, the governor's expansive list of gun control bills aren't expected to be a topic of debate when lawmakers return to Santa Fe. 


Most of what the governor demanded, including a ban on gas-operated semi-automatic firearms and an expansion of the state's "red flag" law, never received floor votes in either the House or Senate during the 30-day budget session that wrapped up in February. Was that because lawmakers ran out of time, or the governor couldn't muster enough support from rural Democrats to ensure passage of the anti-gun measures? No politician, including the governor, is going to admit that their proposals aren't popular, but if the votes were there we probably wouldn't be hearing comments like these.

Lujan Grisham recently told NMPBS that she expects there to be 3 to 5 bills, possibly including one to regulate panhandling.

“Like any other businesses, panhandling is a business,” she said. “There may be other constitutional regulations that you could place.”

Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) said in a statement that legislative leadership has so far discussed this and bills related to criminal competency and felons in possession of a firearm.

He also said that those involved in talks agreed to wait on bills that address gun safety and pre-trial detention until next year’s 60-day session.

House Democratic leadership said in a statement, “We must enter the special session with a set of achievable goals that will genuinely make our communities safer, improve access to health care and services, and protect the rights of New Mexicans.”


Now, it could be that this is part of a "rope-a-dope" strategy designed to make gun owners drop their guard, and we'll see one or more gun control bills announced by the governor as we get closer to the special session, but I tend to doubt that's what's going on here. I think it's more likely that Lujan Grisham has gotten the word from Wirth and other lawmakers that she's setting herself up for a high-profile defeat if she demands lawmakers pass her semi-auto ban or prohibition on concealed carry in parks and playgrounds throughout the state. Even in her own comments to the press after she announced the special session, she didn't bother bringing up either proposal

Lujan Grisham explained what led to her decision to call for the session. 

"I'm continuing to see an escalation of risk in our communities," Lujan Grisham said. "I go to the grocery store, and I go to the pharmacy. I don't think I've been once in a year and a half where a theft is not in progress. It's outrageous."

The governor expressed that during the special session, she would like to see a law passed that would create stricter penalties for felons in possession of a firearm.

"If you just got out and now you are possessing a firearm illegally, you are not rehabilitated. You are a risk and a threat to my public safety," Lujan Grisham said. "If I can hold you in there for five more years, maybe you don't get rehabilitated. But I'm safer for those five years."

The governor also said she would like to see changes in how the state decides if a defendant is released from jail between their arrest and trial date.


The governor has witnessed retail theft every time she's stepped foot in a grocery store or pharmacy over the past 18 months? Yeah, I'm calling B.S. on that, especially since yesterday appears to be the first time she's made that claim. It seems to me that after the second or third time she saw brazen shoplifting taking place she would have said something to the press. 

Still, if she'd prefer lawmakers focus on shoplifting instead of the Second Amendment, that's fine by me. I'd still advise New Mexico gun owners to be on guard for any last-minute additions to the special session's agenda by signing up for the legislative alerts offered by the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association. Even if the governor has been informed that there's not enough support to advance her anti-2A wish list, she can still try to twist arms between now and July, and we can't discount the possibility of a summer surprise before then. 

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