Not So Fast Karen: Federal Judge Blocks New Mexico Governor's "Health Emergency" To Suspend Gun Rights

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Sep 13, 2023 - 09:40 PM

Has the trial balloon just popped?

A federal judge in Albuquerque has blocked part of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's 'public health emergency' to disarm law abiding citizens who wish to carry firearms either open or concealed in public.

The ruling comes after both the state AG and various other officials said they'd refuse to enforce it, AP reports.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge David Urias marks a setback for Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as she responds to several recent shootings that took the lives of children, including an 11-year-old boy as he left a minor league baseball game in Albuquerque. -AP

The order has been slammed on both sides of the aisle, as even gun-grabbing Democrats like Ted Lieu called it unconstitutional, and far-left rag Slate says it's "already backfiring."

Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America Inc, the National Association for Gun Rights and We The Patriots USA filed several legal challenges on behalf of several Bernalillo County gun owners. On Wednesday, Judge Urias heard arguments from plaintiffs seeking a temporary restraining order that blocks the governor’s measure. -The Independent

According to Gun Owners of America senior VP, Erich Pratt, "We are ecstatic that Judge Urias agreed with us that Governor Grisham simply can’t trash the Constitution whenever she sees fit. Gun Owners of America will continue pressing to extend this Temporary Restraining Order into a permanent order. And we will not rest until all those in New Mexico who played a role in this action are held accountable for this gross assault on our rights."

Lawsuits have been filed, calls for impeachment have been sounded, and now, famed 2nd Amendment author and economist John R. Lott Jr. has chimed in with a dose of sanity.

As he writes in RealClear Wire:

After several road rage cases claimed the lives of children this summer, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham suspended the open and concealed carry of firearms in Albuquerque and throughout Bernalillo County for the next 30 days. Grisham’s response will not make New Mexicans safer. Indeed, the opposite is true.

 None of the attacks that Grisham can point to involved permit holders. That’s not too surprising – permit holders in New Mexico and the rest of the country are exceptionally law-abiding. In 2021, there was just one revocation for every 45,000 permit holders in New Mexico. Nor was that an outlier. In 2019 and 2020, there were no revocations.

 For criminals, it is already illegal to carry guns. All Grisham’s edict does is make it illegal for law-abiding citizens to carry. 

 Academic research shows that police are the most important factor in reducing crime. However, the police understand that they virtually always arrive at the crime scene after the crime occurs, as one recent road rage incident illustrates. At the end of August, a law-abiding citizen with a permit used his gun to protect himself from a road rage attack near Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico.

 The Albuquerque police department doesn’t have enough officers to answer every call for help. Police Chief Harold Medina acknowledges that Albuquerque ranks at the bottom of cities in police officers per capita. And by the end of 2021, Albuquerque had only 70% of the number of police officers that it should have. When the police cannot protect people, the solution is not to disarm law-abiding citizens. 

 Albuquerque’s murder rate has soared by 70% while Grisham has been governor. But instead of addressing the problems created by Democrats’ attitudes toward law enforcement, Grisham blames the crime surge on law-abiding gun owners.

 There are now over 22 million concealed handgun permit holders nationwide, and we have decades of data on the behavior of permit holders. Some other states have especially detailed data. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of firearms-related violations at one-twelfth the rate at which police officers are. And police are convicted at just one-twentieth of the rate for the general population at large.

The average concealed carry permit revocation rate in the 19 states with comprehensive data is one-tenth of one percent. Usually, revocations occur because someone moves, dies, or forgets to bring the permit while carrying.

 Academics have published 52 peer-reviewed empirical studies on concealed carry. Of these, 25 found that allowing people to carry reduces violent crime, and 15 found no significant effect. A minority (12) observed increases in violent crime. These 12, however, suffer from systematic errors to varying degrees: They tend to focus on the last 20 years and compare states that recently passed concealed carry laws with earlier states that already had those laws. The latter states, where it was more difficult to obtain a permit, had smaller, sustained growth in permits over the past two decades. The finding that crime rose relatively in the recently adopting states is consistent with the states having the biggest increase in permit holders having the greatest reduction in crime.

 While the Supreme Court would likely strike down Grisham’s 30-day executive order, the governor may have calculated that the suspension period was too short for the courts to successfully intervene. Assuming that Grisham doesn’t get a sympathetic trial judge, there might still be time to get a preliminary injunction. But the case would be moot by the time it would get to the circuit court, let alone the Supreme Court.

 Police are essential to keeping the peace and bringing criminals to justice, but in most cases, they can’t directly protect people. That’s why Gov. Grisham owes the residents of her state the chance to protect themselves.

*  *  *

And as the Mises Institute's Connor O'Keeffe reminds Grisham, constitutional rights aren't government-issued privileges that you can simply suspend;

Grisham is distorting how rights work to justify her program. She frames rights as a handful of unrelated positive freedoms granted to citizens by the government, which can revoke them during emergencies or when they conflict with rights that government officials deem more important.

In reality, rights are derived from self-ownership. We alone have the highest claim to our own bodies. That right is absolute, so any aggression against our bodies is a rights violation that can be justly resisted or punished proportionately.

And from self-ownership, we can derive the just ownership of property. Self-ownership gives you the highest claim to the fruits of your labor. Unowned resources can justly become owned through homesteading—mixing your labor with unowned natural resources. Once these resources are owned, they can be justly transferred as gifts or through voluntary exchange. Because they are derived from self-ownership, property rights are absolute, meaning any violation can be justly resisted or punished proportionately.

We can see, then, that the right not to be harmed and the right to own property do not conflict—they are variations of the same fundamental right. This is especially evident when the property in question equips us to better protect ourselves and our other property. That’s the case with firearms. The debate Grisham calls for is built on a lie.

The governor is trying to account for the government’s failures to protect people, a service it monopolizes, by violating the property rights of Bernalillo County citizens. She understands this is probably illegal and at the press conference even called herself courageous for moving ahead anyway. Even though, unlike the rest of us outside of government, she wouldn’t face consequences if it were determined that what she’s doing is illegal. She’d, at most, be told to stop.

Or so she thought. Instead, over the weekend, the gun owners of Bernalillo County took to the streets, carrying their weapons peacefully in protest. And the Albuquerque police chief and Bernalillo County sheriff issued statements saying they would not enforce the governor’s order. Because it violates the rights of citizens and draws resources away from preventing real crimes.

That’s real courage.

What's next?