New Mexico sheriff says she won’t enforce ‘unconstitutional’ gun ban: ‘Protecting the Second Amendment’
Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is facing widespread pushback from state law enforcement officials following her attempt to ban concealed and open carry permits.
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen described Grisham's 30-day 'public health order' as 'unconstitutional' during a press conference this week despite standing beside the governor during her rollout of the policy.
'It’s unconstitutional, so there’s no way we can enforce that order,' the sheriff said in a Monday news conference. 'This ban does nothing to curb gun violence.'
'We must always remember not only are we protecting the Second Amendment, but at the same time, we have a lot of violence within our community. Let me be clear, I hold my standards high, and I do not or never will hedge on what is right.'
Grisham issued an emergency order on Friday suspending the right to carry guns in public across Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County for at least 30 days following recent instances of gun violence.
The governor said she expects the order to face legal challenges, but she believes she needed to act in response to recent gun-related deaths, such as an 11-year-old boy who was shot and killed outside a minor league baseball stadium earlier this week.
The suspension was classified as an emergency public health order and applies to open and concealed carry in most public places, excluding police and licensed security guards. The restriction is connected to a threshold for violent crime rates met only by the Albuquerque area.
Allen claims he pressured against the public health order, saying '[Grisham] knew we as law enforcement did not agree with the order, and as a result, this was solely her decision.'
Grisham fired back at Allen following his press conference, ordering the law enforcement official to 'stop being squeamish' about enforcing the order.
'I don’t need a lecture on constitutionality from Sheriff Allen: what I need is action,' Grisham said in a statement responding to Allen. 'What we need is for leaders to stand up for the victims of violent crime. We need law enforcement, district attorneys, public officials, school leaders and state agencies to use every single tool at their disposal to stop this violence. Period.'
She continued, 'We’ve given you the tools, Sheriff Allen — now stop being squeamish about using them. I will not back down from doing what’s right and I will always put the safety of the people of New Mexico first.'
Violators could face civil penalties and a fine of up to $5,000, according to the governor's spokeswoman Caroline Sweeney. The governor said state police are responsible for enforcing the order, but she acknowledged not all law enforcement officials – including the district attorney for the Albuquerque area – agree with it.
Lujan Grisham cited several recent shootings in Albuquerque when issuing the order, including the Wednesday shooting outside the Albuquerque Isotopes' field that left 11-year-old Froyland Villegas dead and a woman critically wounded. The two were inside a vehicle that was sprayed with bullets as people were leaving the game.
On Aug. 13, 5-year-old Galilea Samaniego was shot and killed as she slept when four teens entered a mobile home community in two stolen vehicles and opened fire on the home. The girl was shot in the head and died from her injuries at a hospital.
Another deadly shooting took place in August in Taos County when a 14-year-old boy used his father's gun to shoot and kill his friend, 13-year-old Amber Archuleta, while they were at the boy's home.
Fox News Digital's Landon Mion contributed to this report.
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