ACLU-NM issues a cowardly statement on the New Mexico Governor’s Executive Order

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The American Civil Liberties Union has been on the wrong track for a long time. The national organization has dropped any pretense of defending civil liberties and has waded into culture war issues while attacks on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights continue at a brisk pace. The ACLU has long pretended that the Second Amendment doesn’t exist and gets involved in cases only when other parts of the Bill of Rights are implicated. And when the landmark case NYSRPA v. Bruen went to the Supreme Court, the ACLU submitted a disgraceful amicus brief in support of New York’s abusive, racist, discretionary permitting scheme.


As goes the national organization, so go the state-level organizations, and the ACLU of New Mexico is no exception to that general rule. After Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued her “Executive Order” banning all public carry in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County, even non-lawyers such as Everytown-endorsed Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen and Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said they won’t enforce the ban. But the smart lawyers at the ACLU of New Mexico didn’t find any problems with constitutionality of the Executive Order, and issued the following statement (archived links):

SEPTEMBER 11, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico raised concerns today that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s use of emergency powers could lead to overzealous policing and senseless incarceration.  

The following can be attributed to ACLU of New Mexico Litigation Manager Lalita Moskowitz.  

“The ACLU of New Mexico is heartbroken over the recent death of a child and shares the governor’s concern for the well-being of our community. However, we are equally concerned that her solution to the complicated problems of substance abuse, addiction, and gun violence is to pour more resources into law enforcement.  

Historically, this kind of approach leads to the over policing of our communities, racial profiling, and increased misery in the lives of already marginalized people. Instead, the governor should be following evidence-based solutions such as meaningful diversion and violence intervention programs and addressing the root causes of violence. The order also raises legitimate and pressing concerns about New Mexicans’ privacy. 

We are closely monitoring the legal challenges to this executive order, recognizing that many people in our state are focused on the section related to firearms. However, we are deeply concerned about other parts of the order, including the governor’s decision to suspend a program that helps children avoid juvenile prison. We know that incarceration during childhood increases the likelihood that someone will end up in the adult criminal system. Ending a program that helps young people find a different path is counterproductive to public safety.  

While we acknowledge the severity of the fentanyl crisis, we oppose any actions that risk further criminalizing our youth or individuals struggling with addiction. 

ACLU-NM stands in support of initiatives that prioritize treatment and improve access to services to facilitate recovery. We know these approaches are far more effective than criminalization or incarceration.  

Our organization remains committed to advocating for policies that safeguard the civil liberties and rights of all citizens, while simultaneously addressing public health crises through compassionate, evidence-based strategies.”


The ACLU of New Mexico is concerned about an increase in law enforcement funding, over-policing, racial profiling, privacy, and juvenile detention, but there’s not a single mention of the constitutionality of the Executive Order. On top of all that, the ACLU-NM threw in a snide comment about how many people are obsessed with the infringement on the right to bear arms.

The ACLU-NM social media performance wasn’t any better. This is the thread they posted on Twitter/X:

So much for “civil liberties.” If you are an ACLU supporter and/or donor, I highly recommend looking at alternative organizations such as the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), which has picked up after the ACLU dropped the ball, the Cato Institute, or the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA). For the Second Amendment fight, there are several great organizations such as Gun Owners of America, Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Policy Coalition. With all those organizations in the fight, let’s hope the Bill of Rights has a good chance of surviving.


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