The Tyranny of Emergency Powers – In New Mexico AND California
In the October 2, 2023 edition of the Washington Times, Gun Owners of America Executive Vice President John Velleco penned an op ed and asked – and answered – a crucial question that every freedom-loving American must heed:
“If a governor can so blithely disregard the Constitution in New Mexico today, where might this happen tomorrow? The answer is clear: Anywhere, unless we remain vigilant.”
Anywhere indeed. How ‘bout California? We’ve had an up-close and personal look at what can be done in the name of “emergency powers” and “public health.” It wasn’t until February of this year – that’s 2023 – a full 3 years since the pandemic began – did Governor Newsom finally release his emergency powers chokehold on the state. For those who think it was a “one off” – think again – 1,091 days is a pretty damn long “one off.” (March 4, 2020 – February 28, 2023).
Make no mistake about this – Newsom readily admitted that he saw the coronavirus public health crisis as an “opportunity” to enact a political and ideological agenda. In an interview with Bloomberg News, when asked if he saw the potential for a “new progressive era” and an “opportunity for additional progressive steps” he said ‘So yes, absolutely we see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern.’”
Thus, Newsom used his emergency powers to unilaterally change over 200 California laws and issue a whopping 43 Executive Orders – many of which were for purposes outside the bounds of any public health threat.
The Governor of New Mexico has taken a page out of Newsom’s tyrannical playbook and we must all pay attention – and remain vigilant. Read on…
New Attack on Gun Rights in New Mexico
If a governor can so blithely disregard the Constitution today, where might this happen tomorrow?
by John Velleco
In the last 30 days, a new threat to the Second Amendment has surfaced in New Mexico.
Granted, America’s leftist leaders have long looked down on the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Whether it’s been former President Barack Obama mocking how Americans “cling to guns” or President Biden letting loose his anti-gun attack dogs to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms And Explosives, we’ve seen this sneering before.
But what New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has done in the last month has risen to a whole new level. The Democratic governor, who hides her gun ban behind the carefully crafted concept of “public health,” apparently thought the Constitution-cratering COVID-19 mess constituted a perfect precedent for declaring that law-abiding New Mexico residents are criminals.
On Sept. 8, Ms. Lujan Grisham took the audacious step of seemingly suspending not just the U.S. Constitution but also the New Mexico Constitution. The directive, which aimed to prohibit law-abiding gun owners from bearing arms for 30 days in Bernalillo County and the county seat, Albuquerque, serves as a chilling reminder: There are elements within our government that would knowingly disarm the virtuous while turning a blind eye to the criminals who ignore the law.
Ms. Lujan Grisham’s audacity was baffling, especially coming after the clear decision of the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. In this landmark case, the high court unequivocally held that the Second and 14th amendments safeguard Americans’ right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.
The ruling could not be clearer, yet the governor seems absolutely determined to interpret it through the lens of a politician who loves to be protected by guns, but doesn’t want you to be. When Democratic lawmakers, law enforcement officers and legal experts refuse to enforce or defend Ms. Lujan Grisham’s misstep, it should be clear to everyone that the directive wildly oversteps its constitutional boundaries.
And it’s not just the U.S. Constitution that Ms. Grisham violated. The New Mexico Constitution gives the state’s residents the right to bear arms. While it grants the state Legislature some authority to regulate concealed weapons — always within the purview of the federal Second Amendment, of course — it firmly proclaims, “No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense.”
Ms. Lujan Grisham’s attempt to frame everything, including gun violence, as a “public health issue” is a thinly veiled tactic to give more control over every American to the government. This Orwellian newspeak is the klaxon we need so the rest of the country understands that the Constitution is under attack right now.
Thankfully, there are those not willing to obliterate our cherished freedoms. Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, for instance, outright refused to support this draconian overreach. In his words, the temporary ban “challenges the foundation of our Constitution.”
Sheriff Allen, a fellow Democrat, rightfully expressed concern over the potential risks of barring law-abiding citizens from their constitutionally guaranteed right to self-defense. The sheriff placed the rights of citizens over the governor’s tyrannical whim. Sheriff Allen’s actions stand as an example to all law enforcement.
Fortunately, the sheriff is not alone. Just days after the governor’s directive, the resilience of the Constitution shone brightly once again. New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez announced his refusal to defend the governor’s gun control order, prioritizing his “duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen.”
Finally, in a decisive move, U.S. District Judge David Urias granted a restraining order in response to a lawsuit filed by Gun Owners of America against Ms. Lujan Grisham’s ban. In his ruling, Judge Urias acknowledged the directives from seminal cases such as Bruen, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, emphasizing the patently undeniable breach of the Second Amendment.
The real alarm bell here, however, is the broader implication of Ms. Lujan Grisham’s actions. If a governor can so blithely disregard the Constitution in New Mexico today, where might this happen tomorrow? The answer is clear: Anywhere, unless we remain vigilant.
Our rights as gun owners, enshrined in the Constitution, are not bargaining chips to be played in a high-stakes game of political maneuvering. These are foundational to our very way of life, ensuring that every law-abiding American can defend themselves, their families, and their properties. An attack on these rights is an affront to the very fabric of our nation.
While Ms. Lujan Grisham’s actions might be construed as an isolated incident, let’s not be naive. It serves as a stark warning of the lengths to which some officials will go to infringe upon our rights, using any justification at hand — even if it means twisting the narrative of “public health.”
A coalition of U.S. senators, led by the Second Amendment protectors John Kennedy, Marsha Blackburn and Tom Cotton, has called for immediate action to counteract Ms. Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional attack. Their voices add weight to a growing defense demanding a halt to these infringements, whether in New Mexico or anywhere else in our republic.
We must educate ourselves, participate in lawful civic action, and ensure that our voices are heard as loud as the cannons used against King George’s redcoats. Ms. Lujan Grisham’s ban serves as a cautionary tale: There will always be those who seek to disarm the good while doing nothing to challenge the bad.
We owe it to ourselves, our families and future generations to remain steadfast in the face of these challenges, ensuring that our Second Amendment rights remain untarnished and unabridged.
Remember: Our constitutional rights are not up for negotiated compromise. We either have them, or we don’t.
- John Velleco is executive vice president for Gun Owners of America (the sister organization to Gun Owners of California), a grassroots lobbying organization with more than 2 million members and supporters nationwide.