NRO explores the flip side of Grisham's directive

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham probably figures she’s pretty clever. She unilaterally banned the lawful carry of firearms in Albuquerque with just a stroke of her pen. Well, it took a couple of strokes–one to create a “public health emergency” and one to ban the right to bear arms–but you get the point.


While some gun control advocates are less than thrilled with her move, I suspect a lot of others are waiting to see how things go before they follow her lead.

Yet over at the National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke talks a bit about someone flipping the script on Grisham.

On the homepage today, I note that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico is insisting that she is allowed to suspend both state statutes and enumerated constitutional rights at will, and I ask why, if this is true, she could not be thrown in jail without a trial? The answer, usually, is “the law.” But if we have no law . . . ?

To continue that thought experiment, I might ask a related question: Namely, whether Lujan Grisham and those defending her have thought through what would happen elsewhere if this behavior were to become the norm. There is, of course, no reason whatsoever that a different governor in a different state couldn’t obtain precisely the opposite policy outcome atop the precise same set of “emergency” claims. Governor Lujan Grisham believes that the rise in crime in Albuquerque is the fault of lax gun-control measures. Okay. But a Republican governor elsewhere might draw the conclusion that this is backwards, and, having declared unilaterally that a rise in crime was being caused by overly strict gun-control measures, suspend the those measures without legislative acquiescence. Is that what Lujan Grisham wants? If so, does she think that the United States will end up with more states whose executive-amended gun laws look like New Mexico’s or more states whose executive-amended gun laws look like Alabama’s?


It’s an interesting thought experiment, to say the least.

After all, pro-gun governors are more likely to believe that armed citizens ultimately make for a safer society. that’s a position I agree with, but that’s not relevant to this thought exercise.

So let’s say Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp decided that the violent crime in Atlanta was just too much, so he too declared a public health emergency, but rather than banning lawful carry in the city, he suspended all gun control laws for a period of 30 days.

What do you think Grisham would think of that?

And understand that one could make the case that such an order would actually be far more in keeping with the Constitution than Grisham’s order ever would.

Now, understand that no one is suggesting anyone do this. The truth of the matter is that I’m not generally comfortable with governors deciding to unilaterally decide matters of the law on such a flimsy premise in the first place.

But Grisham started this ball rolling. However, once it starts, she has no control over where it goes.

That’s especially true if, by some chance, the courts were to uphold her actions. I don’t think that’s likely to happen in the long run, but if so, I doubt it’ll just be gun control advocates playing in that particular sandbox.


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