Though a federal judge says New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s unilateral decision to ban open and concealed carry from parks and playgrounds in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County can be enforced, so far the reaction from law enforcement has been mixed at best. In fact, at least one department has no interest or plans to issue citations for those legal gun owners who are carrying in violation of the governor’s edict.
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, who refused to enforce Grisham’s original order prohibiting concealed and open carry throughout the entire city and county, says he won’t enforce the revised order either.
hen asked last week whether a ban at playgrounds would be enforceable or effective at stemming gun violence, Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said “no and no.”
“It wouldn’t make a difference because, again, you’re just going after law-abiding citizens with firearms,” he said. “And it does nothing to drive down gun crime or any other crime — whether it’s at a playground or somewhere else. It’s not common sense to me at all.”
And Thursday, after the judge’s ruling, the Sheriff’s Office told KUNM in an email that the department will not enforce the ban in playgrounds or parks.
“Though we acknowledge the order’s intent, our attention is on the pressing violent crime issues in our community,” wrote department spokesperson Jayme Fuller-Gonzales.
Kudos to Sheriff Allen for the decision to focus on violent crime instead of trolling parks and playgrounds looking for moms and dads who are legally armed to protect their kids. Compare his attitude towards that of the governor, who has made it crystal clear that she doesn’t see any difference between the drug dealers and gang members who are responsible for the appalling amount of violent crime in the area and the legal gun owners exercising their Second Amendment right to armed self-defense.
Lujan Grisham said at a news conference Tuesday that the order is another tool to help keep New Mexicans safe and that the evidence bears that out. “The more guns you have on the streets, the less safe it is,” she said.
In a statement after the ruling, the governor wrote that the state will begin enforcing the order through civil citations, adding that she “looks forward” to Bernalillo County doing the same.
I guess she’s gonna have to keep looking, because it sounds like that’s not gonna happen.
What about the Albuquerque police? Police chief Harold Medina told KOB-TV on Thursday that the department will “investigate all criminal offenses involving a firearm. When officers encounter individuals who violate the state’s emergency order and possession is the only violation, they will forward those cases to the New Mexico State Police.”
In other words, the APD isn’t going to be proactively patrolling the city’s parks and playgrounds looking for gun owners who’ve chosen to ignore or defy the governor’s edict, but they’re still cooperating on some level with Grisham’s demand. The state police never responded to KOB questions about how that agency will enforce the governor’s order going forward, but when hundreds of gun owners showed up in an Albuquerque park to protest Grisham’s first ban, the department apparently did not issue any citations despite the governor’s claim to the contrary.
Seems to me that the heads of these agencies know just how dumb the governor’s carry ban is when it comes to fighting crime, even if a federal judge has allowed the order to be enforced. Medina offered no praise for the governor’s decision or the judge’s ruling and indicated his department will do the bare minimum to cooperate with the public health order, while the head of the state police would apparently rather not talk about the ruling or enforcing the order at all.
Grisham’s revised order is set to expire on November 3rd. What do you think the chances are that by the time that date rolls around the number of citations issued to concealed carry holders is zero, despite the governor’s insistence that banning open and concealed carry at parks and playgrounds is a necessity? Grisham was able to get some form of her carry ban to stick, at least temporarily, but now the onus is on her to prove to the public that going after lawful gun owners is truly a valuable way to fight crime and she’s setting herself up for a spectacular faceplant in the weeks ahead.