New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez told Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham he will not defend his executive order suspending open and concealed carry in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County for at least 30 days, saying that he thought it was unconstitutional.
Grisham announced on September 7 that she had to respond to recent gun-related deaths, including an 11-year-old boy who was shot and killed while outside a baseball stadium in ‘a minor league Wednesday night.
The suspension of open and concealed carry in the defined area is classified as an emergency public health order.
Torrez, himself a Democrat, wrote the letter to Grisham on Tuesday, saying he would not defend his administration in two lawsuits over the executive order.
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“I am writing to inform you that my office will not defend your administration in the above-mentioned cases challenging the public health emergency order imposing temporary restrictions on firearms, drug monitoring and other public safety measures (the emergency order) issued by the Secretary of Health on September 8, 2023,” Torrez wrote. “While I recognize my statutory obligation as New Mexico’s chief legal counsel to defend state officials when they are sued in their official capacity, my duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen has priority. Simply put, I do not believe that the emergency order will have a significant impact on public safety but, more importantly, I do not believe that it meets the constitutional requirements. »
Click here to read the letter:
While the attorney general says he mourns the victims of gun violence, Torrez wrote that Grisham should not issue executive orders like the one she signed last week.
“However, I encourage you to engage in a more thoughtful and deliberative process with the members of the New Mexico Legislature rather than taking unilateral actions that infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens while having little or no discernible impact on the underlying dynamics that drive gun violence in our community,” he wrote.
In the four-page letter, Torrez also told Grisham that it was “unwise to expand the definition of a ‘public health emergency’ to encompass something that is fundamentally a matter of public safety.”
Torrez said it was “almost certain” that the executive order would violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Responding to criticism, Grisham’s press secretary, Caroline Sweeney, told Fox News Digital on Sunday that the order “does not suspend the Constitution but rather state laws over which the governor has jurisdiction.”
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“The governor is looking for proactive partners who will provide solutions – not naysayers who have no real answers to the epidemic of gun violence we face,” Sweeney said. “She was elected to serve the people of New Mexico, and not a day goes by without one of her constituents asking her to do more to stop this horrific violence. If Ted Lieu is so interested in addressing this issue , we invite him to join our next police academy class in January.
Republican state Reps. Stefani Lord and John Block announced Sept. 9 that they were calling for the governor’s impeachment.
“I am directing the lawyers to begin impeachment proceedings against Governor Grisham,” Lord said. “This is an abhorrent attempt to impose a radical, progressive agenda on a reluctant population. Rather than tackling crime at its roots, Governor Grisham is restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners Even Grisham believes this emergency order will not prohibit criminals from carrying or using weapons; a basic admission that it will only put New Mexicans in danger because they will not be able to protect themselves. defend against violent crime.”
Speaking to Fox News Digital, Lord said Grisham is a “rogue governor.”
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The National Association for Gun Rights and Foster Haines, an Albuquerque resident, announced Saturday that they had filed a lawsuit against Grisham and New Mexico Health Secretary Patrick Allen, arguing that the emergency order was unconstitutional. They are requesting that a temporary restraining order be issued against the measure.
Fox News Digital has reached out to Grisham’s office for comment.
Fox News’ Houston Knee contributed to this report.