September 9, 2023

Pro-gun group files suit over guv’s gun carry ban, more coming


Open carry rally in Richmond, VA in 2010. Flickr cc

It didn’t take long for gun rights activists to file a lawsuit against the governor for her public health order that seeks to ban guns from public spaces in Bernalillo County because of gun violence.

The order would ban open and concealed carry in public spaces in Bernalillo County, with exceptions for law enforcement and licensed security personnel. 

Related: ‘Cooling off period’: Gov bans firearms in public in BernCo

The pro-gun group the National Association for Gun Rights announced they would file a lawsuit in federal court against the governor, citing the Bruen U.S. Supreme Court ruling that greatly limited the ability to restrict access to guns. 

“Governor Luhan Grisham [sic] is throwing up a middle finger to the Constitution and the Supreme Court,” Dudley Brown, president of the gun-rights group, said in a statement. “Her executive order is in blatant disregard for Bruen. She needs to be held accountable for stripping the God-given rights of millions away with the stroke of a pen.” 

Other gun rights groups also blasted the decision and likely will file lawsuits.

Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca, R-Belen, also said he would be filing a suit against the governor.

“In response to the Governor’s egregiously unconstitutional order, we immediately began the process of preparing a legal challenge, which we plan to file soon,” Baca said. “Sadly, this Governor would rather use our State Police to ‘stop and frisk’ law-abiding citizens than have them fully focused on finding and bringing the child killer to justice.”

House Minority Leader T. Ryan Lane, R-Aztec, also promised a lawsuit.

“It is unacceptable that the federal and state constitutional rights of New Mexicans have been wholly disregarded in a political stunt by the governor,” Lane said in a statement. “The outrage from New Mexicans and Americans across the country reveals how precious our rights are and we will not back down from defending and fighting for what makes the United States of America a unique experiment. This country and our state were founded on principles of freedom and democracy, and one political figure will not erase our shared history.”

Lujan Grisham wrote the public health order after the death of a child who was shot after leaving a minor league baseball game in Albuquerque.

Enforcement of the ban also appears to be unlikely. Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, a Democrat, signaled that sheriff’s deputies would not be enforcing the ban.

“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 in a statement following the governor’s announcement.

And Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller also distanced the Albuquerque Police Department from enforcing the order.

“The governor issued a 30-day state order that limits gun possession in Bernalillo County, including the City of Albuquerque,” Keller said. “The governor made it clear that state law enforcement, and not APD, will be responsible for enforcement of civil violations of that order.”  

Meanwhile, two arch-conservative members of the state House launched a long-shot effort to impeach Lujan Grisham over her public health order. State Reps. John Block and Stefani Lord are seeking the impeachment, which is unlikely with a large Democratic majority in the House.

Update: Added information about the House minority plans.

Correction: This story initially referred to T. Ryan Lane as being from Belen. He’s from Aztec.


  • Matthew Reichbach

    Matthew Reichbach is the editor of the NM Political Report. The founder and editor of the NM Telegram, Matthew also a co-founded New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and one of the original hires at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation and formerly published, “The Morning Word,” a daily political news summary for NM Telegram and the Santa Fe Reporter.