New Mexico governor faces federal lawsuits, impeachment calls as sheriff vows to not enforce gun ban

"While I understand and appreciate the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundation of our Constitution," the county sheriff said.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is facing protests, federal lawsuits and calls for her impeachment after she issued an emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in most public areas Bernalillo County, which includes the state's largest city of Albuquerque.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, all Democrats, have said they will not enforce the open and concealed carry ban, The Associated Press reported Monday.

"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," Allen said Friday after the order was issued.

The Albuquerque Police Police Chief Harold Medina said last week that state law enforcement is responsible for enforcing the ban, not his agency. The Albuquerque Police Department said its officers "will continue to focus on the enforcement of criminal laws and arresting the criminals who are driving violent crime in the city."

Lujan Grisham announced the 30-day public health order Friday following the shooting deaths of three children in less than two months. 

The order also directs the Health Department to test school wastewater for illegal substances, increases overtime funding for the state police to add officers in Albuquerque and suspends the state's Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, which helps minors avoid prison.

The order comes as Albuquerque saw an 18% decrease in homicides from Jan. 1-Sept. 8, 2023, compared to the same time period last year, according to police data.

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