On New Mexico's Carry Ban

Thoughts on Governor Michelle Grisham's emergency ban on lawful concealed carry in Albuquerque...

On New Mexico's Carry Ban

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The governor of New Mexico has for 30 days suspended open and concealed carry for law-abiding citizens in Bernalillo County, which includes the more than half a million residents of greater Albuquerque.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday issued an emergency order suspending the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque and the surrounding county for at least 30 days in response to a spate of gun violence.
The Democratic governor said she expects legal challenges but was compelled to act in response to gun deaths, including the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball stadium this week.
New Mexico governor issues order suspending the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque

I specify "law-abiding citizens" because in the press conference announcing the ban, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) specifically said "no" when asked whether she believed the ban would stop any criminals from carrying a firearm.

Video is [Here]. Pay attention to 1:29 to 1:45.

"Do you really think that criminals are going to hear this message and not carry a gun in Albuquerque, on the streets, for thirty days?"
"Um, no. But here's what I do think. It's a pretty resounding message."

The Governor's tone of voice and body language are those of a kindergarten teacher going through a divorce that's her own fault. To match this energy, she seems to be operating with the understanding that she can take the toys away from the whole class because she doesn't want to single out the bad kids who aren't playing with them safely.

Unfortunately, whether or not she's correct in this understanding is up to the residents of Albuquerque. Governor Grisham clearly does not have any intention of pretending the Constitution or other such silliness constrains her, and she is the highest executive in New Mexico. Albuquerque is a blue city, and the Federal administration is going to support her (at least tacitly) in this effort. And so when one's first reaction is, "Hey! She can't do that!" well...she just did.

Most political activity is driven by three primary motives. These motives may overlap or they may function independently. They are:

  1. To stay in power (the least likely in rhetoric, the most likely in reality)
  2. To help friends and/or to hurt enemies
  3. To help constituents at large (the least likely in reality, the most likely in rhetoric)

This ban is ostensibly being carried out to improve "public safety," but the Governor herself openly admits that it won't stop any gun crimes. From the Governor's public admission that the policy will fail at its named objective, we can deduce that such a ban only serves to help friends, hurt enemies, or allow her to maintain power.

Before I continue, you should understand that people like you – subscribers to newsletters about guns and non-regime politics – are the governor's enemy. You know this is true because you would not fire 17 rounds into a car with an 11-year-old boy in it. You also would not carry out a drive-by shooting against a house where a 5-year-old girl is sleeping. And you wouldn't murder a 13-year-old girl with your handgun. These are the specific crimes Governor Grisham is referring to, which supposedly justify her decision to stop you from wearing a gun.

But these aren't crimes committed by people like you. These were crimes committed by teens.

In fact, because they are minors, there aren't published mugshots of the four young men – Alexander Barraza Venzor, Yahir Carballo, Jose Luis Ramirez, and Alan Ramirez – arrested in the drive-by killing of a 5-year-old girl last month.

The passengers of the Dodge Durango that opened fire into the family vehicle of 11-year-old Froylan Villegas are yet unidentified because the suspects are still at large. (But I'd wager it wasn't a crime carried out by someone with car insurance.)

The teen who murdered 13-year-old Amber Archuleta is also a minor.

These are all low impulse control street crimes that people like you have a right to defend yourself against. Like many cities controlled by leftists, Albuquerque has seen a big increase in violent crime recently. A 71% increase in homicide and a 28% increase in aggravated assault from 2017 to 2022, to be precise. It sounds pretty dangerous to visit Albuquerque with these roving bands of teens murdering or assaulting people all the time. In fact, it sounds like exactly the type of city where a regular person might want to carry a concealed firearm, and this is a right the Supreme Court interprets as specifically enshrined in the Constitution.

But because the constitution is dead until someone does something to re-animate it, a pudgy middle-aged woman in a tracksuit can snap her fingers, declare a feelings emergency, and make it illegal for hundreds of thousands of upstanding citizens to carry guns for safety.

If this policy hurts the Governor's political enemies, does it also help any of her political allies?

Of course. Banning guns based on 'public nuisance' concepts is a major (if not still somewhat discreet) strategy of progressives. The Second Amendment and PLCAA have proven to be surprisingly effective tools and the blob of leftism is forced into refining its thinking about how to stop the average citizen from having access to any hard power.

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Rules that are temporary, conditional, only used in emergencies, and issued by the executive branches of state or federal government are particularly sharp instruments for cutting that stubborn Gordian knot of low-status, chud-tier civil rights like access to guns, free speech, and secure elections. Courts are hesitant to limit these powers, and the judicial system can sometimes be too slow to meaningfully offset them anyway.

If this type of executive power won't be useful for actually improving public safety, then why is Governor Grisham doing something so drastic, controversial, and likely to run afoul of the courts? Well, "Right To Safety" legislation is the latest trial balloon of the left.

Gavin Newsom recently floated this concept as part of his own political platform. And it's become known that Everytown is the money and legal power behind the "public nuisance" lawsuits bogging down the gun industry. This is a two-pronged attack; public officials with something to gain and NGOs with nothing to lose are each taking a flank in the pincer movement to facilitate Robert Reich's "regulation through litigation" strategy.

Governor Grisham's role is to put this first test run into effect. It's only a 30-day ban, so it will either get shot down in court or expire quickly. The goal of this is not to make it stick; the goal is to get people used to the idea and to gauge the response. It's a probe; a shaping maneuver to develop the battlespace.

Grisham is an ideal candidate for this homework assignment. She comes from a political legacy and she's in her second term. Albuquerque is a blue city and it has a surprisingly high crime rate. There's just enough plausible deniability to necessitate this action (what politician is going to oppose her by saying that dead kids aren't an emergency?) and just enough Democratic majority in the region for this to be viable for at least a few weeks.

Grisham's carrying out this assignment positions her favorably for a board seat at any left-wing NGO or think tank, or possibly in a cabinet position after her time as Governor. If that sounds cynical, look at Xavier Becerra. As California AG he made the state's assault weapons registration website so impossible to use that his office had to settle in federal court and admit "his agency’s gun-registration website was so poorly designed that potentially thousands of Californians were unable to register their assault weapons and comply with state law."

If you think settling in federal court for negligence sounds like a bad thing, you're wrong. Becerra was rewarded for overseeing these unlawful anti-gun measures; he went from a state AG to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Biden administration.

Governor Grisham can't seek re-election, and so she's being tasked with a type of electoral Kamikaze mission to help the anti-gun lobby steelman the standard pro-gun arguments and see what happens.

When people say "But, Governor, this won't reduce crime!" she is simply saying "Yeah, I know," and implementing a gun ban anyway. (Get ready for a Twitter feed full of irony-leftists attaching the gigachad image.)

She's not doing this because she's an idiot who doesn't understand the situation. She's doing it to punish you for thinking that you have a right to use force to stop yourself from being mugged by a Democrat.

Grisham's carry ban will probably lose in court. But this stunt will expressly benefit her own career prospects and will be a useful experiment for the anti-gun left.

Whether you like it or not, we are now in a type of post-constitutional oligarchy, where the cultural norms and policy expectations that most of us grew up with are quickly being cast aside for nightmare vision progressivism. You will get mugged by a 15-year-old migrant with a machine gun. You will not defend yourself. Your kids will watch the drag show. Your grocery bill will triple. And you will shut up about it, or else you'll be fired and your bank account will be closed.

Governor Grisham's plan is good for her career. It will be good for the people who want you unarmed. It will hurt the people in Albuquerque who rely on a gun to defend themselves. And it will be great for criminals.

In fact, pretty much everyone will benefit from Grisham's policy except you. It's a shame that it's strictly illegal for regular people to alter or abolish such a system.

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