New Mexico Sheriff Refuses to Comply with Temporary Gun Ban

by J Pelkey
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On Thursday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a public health emergency over “gun violence”, following the death of an 11-year-old boy. On Friday, she took the unprecedented action of “suspending” gun rights in Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, with the potential for other cities to adopt similar measures.

Under this public health emergency, open and concealed carry laws in Bernalillo County have been temporarily suspended, effective immediately. The move is a direct infringement on law-abiding citizens’ Constitutional right to bear arms.

During a news conference, Grisham made a concerning statement, saying, “No constitutional right, in my view, including my oath, is intended to be absolute.”

Furthermore, Grisham openly acknowledged that her actions are in violation of the US Constitution, stating, “There will be a legal challenge and I can’t tell you that we win it.”

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There is no debating our Constitutional rights.

Unlike privileges, rights cannot be “suspended” or taken away.

Gun rights, which include open and concealed carry laws, cannot be arbitrarily “suspended” by a governor, not even under the pretense of an “emergency”. If allowed to stand, it could set a dangerous precedent where any right could potentially be undermined by the state as long as an emergency declaration is issued.

Any elected official who deliberately and knowingly violates their oath and fails to uphold the Constitutional rights of the American people should be removed from their position immediately and prosecuted.

In reaction to Grisham’s unconstitutional order, Sheriff John Allen, who serves Bernalillo County north of Albuquerque, declared that he will not comply with the order.

From the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office:

Today, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an emergency order temporarily suspending open and concealed carry laws in Albuquerque and throughout Bernalillo County for the next 30 days. This move has been positioned as a response to the alarming and tragic rise in gun violence, particularly the heart-wrenching death of an 11-year-old boy this past week.

First and foremost, every lost life is a tragedy, and the well-being of our community is of paramount concern to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. We share in the collective grief and urgency to address this issue.

However, as the elected Sheriff, I have reservations regarding this order. While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our Constitution, which I swore an oath to uphold. I am wary of placing my deputies in positions that could lead to civil liability conflicts, as well as the potential risks posed by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right to self-defense.

I was elected to represent and safeguard all constituents and to ensure the balance between our rights and public safety is maintained. That means we must critically evaluate any proposed solution to the deeply rooted issue of gun violence, ensuring we both protect our community and uphold the values that define us as a nation.

To proactively address gun violence, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has implemented and is currently executing several initiatives:

1. ERPO (Extreme Risk Protection Orders) – Identifying and addressing threats before they escalate.

2. Behavioral Health Unit – Addressing underlying mental health issues that often intersect with violent incidents.

3. Youth and Gun Violence Initiative – Focused programs to curb youth involvement in gun-related crimes.

4. Felon Firearm Possession Intervention – Targeting felons illegally in possession of firearms.

5. Crime Commission Initiative – Zeroing in on cases where firearms are used in the commission of crimes.

6. Interagency Collaboration – Partnering with State, Local, and Federal entities to create a unified front against gun violence. 

7. Creation of a Violence Intervention Program – Intervening in gun violence before crimes happen through intel and inter-agency collaboration.

In conclusion, while we might not be in complete alignment with the Governor’s recent order, we remain steadfast in our commitment to work collaboratively, both with her office and with the community, to find sustainable solutions to the gun violence epidemic plaguing our county. It is through robust dialogues, open-mindedness, and the shared goal of a safer Bernalillo County that we will find our way forward.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Sheriff John Allen Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office

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