Politics /

New Mexico Sheriff Will Not Enforce Governor's Order to Unilaterally Ban Guns

'This ban does nothing to curb gun violence' Sheriff John Allen told reporters while calling the order 'unconstitutional'

A sheriff of New Mexico’s largest metropolitan area says he will not enforce an emergency order signed last week by the governor who is using the executive action to unilaterally ban guns.

On Sept. 8, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an executive order banning open or concealed carry of firearms in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. In a move similar to those undertaken across the U.S. during the 2020 pandemic, Grisham granted herself emergency powers, declaring that gun violence constitutes a public health emergency.

“As I said yesterday, the time for standard measures has passed,” Grisham said in a statement. “And when New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game – when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn – something is very wrong.”

The order was immediately criticized by proponents of constitutional rights and is already facing legal challenges.

Among the growing chorus of voices in opposition to Grisham’s action is Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, who says he will not enforce the executive action.

“It’s unconstitutional, so there’s no way we can enforce that order,” Allen said during a news conference. “This ban does nothing to curb gun violence.”

Allen says he is calling for a special session with the governor to discuss the order, the enforcement of which, he said, would violate his oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Allen added:

We don’t agree on this at all. This is unconstitutional, and like I said, I uphold my oath seriously. As far as meaning for Albuquerque specifically, I am putting everybody else, including every other politician, and everybody else as a leader to jump on board and work as a team.

I said this last week. There was an article, and I wish this man would email me. He says the mayor, the sheriff, the AGs, the chief, they all have their own separate press conferences, I read all these editorials. What are they going to do together? And that’s why in the press conference when I was with the governor the other day I said, “We are all here.” Bernalillo County is a problem. The state of New Mexico has a problem with firearms. What do we do to stop the infiltration that are being used for violence and firearms? What can we do for Albuquerque? Show that there’s a collaborative effort to stop the gun violence. That’s all that we can do.

As I said, there’s not a magic wand, there’s not one solution, there’s a myriad of solutions, and I can’t be the only one coming up with that, and that’s why we have to work together as a team.

When asked by a reporter what he would tell people who are now scared they won’t be able to defend themselves with a concealed weapon, he issued a sharp reply.

“That’s a quick answer. We aren’t enforcing it,” he said.

Within 24 hours of the executive order, The National Association for Gun Rights filed court paperwork requesting for the court to immediately block the order.

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