The National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition and several other organizations filed a federal lawsuit against New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The New Mexico governor recently mandated the closure of gun stores during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
New Mexico Governor Grisham Closes Gun Stores
The federal government considers gun stores and firearms manufacturers essential. The DHS named the gun industry among critical infrastructure during the pandemic. The guidance prompted states the likes of New Jersey, rabidly anti-gun, to back off prohibitions. But not New Mexico, where Lujan Grisham owns a track record of anti-gun positions.
Instead, Lujan Grisham ordered the closure of businesses she considered non-essential, including gun stores. She then tasked the New Mexico State Patrol to drive by gun stores. Police told dealers they are and will remain closed for business.
“No one is happy about closing in-person business in our state — no one, including the governor,” Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett told santafenewmexican.com. “But it is inarguable that the only way we get through this pandemic with the fewest number of deaths that we can manage is to limit travel outside of the home to the greatest extent possible — and while we as an administration unequivocally support the constitutional right to purchase a firearm, we recognize that right does not correspond to a right to congregate in a store and infect neighbors and workers and public safety officers amid an unprecedented global pandemic.”
The New Mexico Shooting Sports Association, two businesses and three private citizens joined the suit in response. The complaint, Aragon v. Grisham, “challenges Defendants’ mandatory shuttering of lawful retail firearms businesses.” The suit also names Kathyleen Kunkel, secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health, and the Department of Health as defendants.
Gun Groups Fight Back
“By arbitrarily, capriciously—and unconstitutionally—targeting those who lawfully sell firearms and ammunition, New Mexico is depriving citizens of their natural and fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” the complaint alleges.
“Gov. Grisham simply can’t suspend the Second Amendment,” stated SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, in a press release. “Of course there is an emergency, but such emergencies do not nullify the Constitution, even temporarily. We cannot allow public officials to put their personal agendas above the rights protected by the Constitution, and that includes the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
“The government has no duty to protect you and coronavirus-related impacts to law enforcement could be significant,” added FPC President Brandon Combs, “so times like now are precisely when people must be able to acquire self-defense tools to defend their lives and homes. We are proud to participate in this important case to defend the People’s right to keep and bear arms against government abuses in New Mexico.”
We reported recently on the behavior of several state governors. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy shut down the state’s NICS system. But public sentiment and the federal government’s position on guns made him reverse his position. Meanwhile, a pair of pro-gun governors, South Dakota’s Kristi Noem and Idaho’s Brad Little, did jus the opposite. They each expanded gun rights in their state to combat the pandemic.
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