Top national news this week comes out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a dilemma of Constitutional interpretation embroils between the governor and a city sheriff.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) issued an emergency order on September 5, to temporarily suspend the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque and Bernalillo County for at least thirty days – unless renewed – in reaction to a recent episode of gun violence.
The governor said she expected legal challenges, but signed the orders anyway after an eleven-year-old boy was killed in a road rage incident in New Mexico’s largest city on September 8.
The order applies to open and concealed carry permitted firearms in most public places. Police and licensed security guards are exempt from the ban.
A spokesperson for the governor said that violators would receive civil penalties and a maximum fine of $5,000. Residents can still move firearms between gun ranges and gun stores, but only if the firearms have a trigger lock or some form of safety to prevent them from discharging.
“I welcome the debate and fight about how to make New Mexicans safer,” Governor Lujan Grisham said at a news conference.
The governor also stated statistics that she used to validate her orders, stating that from “2017 to 2021, 143 children [in New Mexico] were killed by guns, with 49% of those were homicides.”
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen (D) has come under fire for pledging to not enforce the measure.
“The governor made it clear in her press conference: she knew we as law enforcement did not agree with the order, and as a result, this was solely her decision,” said Allen. “This order will not do anything to curb gun violence other than punish law-abiding citizens from their constitutional right of self-defense.”
Instead, Allen says the solution is further actions from task forces looking to curb gun violence and perform early intervention for troubled adult and youth offenders.
“We need to look at solutions to address violent crimes involving juveniles with firearms, adults with firearms, pretrial release and harsh penalties for violent crimes which also involve a firearm,” says Allen.
Governor Lujan Grisham responded: “I don’t need a lecture on constitutionality from Sheriff Allen: what I need is action. What we need is for leaders to stand up for the victims of violent crime. We need law enforcement, district attorneys, public officials, school leaders and state agencies to use every single tool at their disposal to stop this violence. Period. We’ve given you the tools, Sheriff Allen— now stop being squeamish about using them. I will not back down from doing what’s right and I will always put the safety of the people of New Mexico first.”
Governor Lujan Grisham flipped the governor’s race from Republican control in 2018 and was narrowly re-elected in 2022. She previously served in the U.S. House from 2013 to 2019, and was New Mexico Secretary of Health from 2004 to 2007.
Sheriff Allen was elected by a thirteen-point margin in the 2022 Bernalillo County Sheriff’s race.
The results of a special election shows the strength of New York Republicans going into the next presidential election.
A special election to fill the vacancy of New York’s Twenty-Seventh Assembly District was held on September 12. AD-27 is located entirely within Queens and includes the neighborhoods of Beechhurst, Kew Gardens Hills, Kew Gardens, College Point, Malba, Ponomok, and Whitestone.
Based on registration, the district is 55% Democratic, 16% Republican, and 25% with no party preference.
David Rosenthal (D) won the seat in 2022 by almost twenty points, after previously winning the elections in 2018 and 2020 as well as the 2017 special election unopposed by Republicans. Republicans have not run a candidate on the party line in this district since the 2011 special election, which Michael Simanowitz (D) won with 76% of the vote.
Rosenthal resigned in July to take a position with the United Jewish Appeals (UJA)-Federation of New York, the largest local philanthropy in the world.
While Democrats retained this seat Tuesday night, it was by a much slimmer margin than normal, with Sam Berger (D) winning by just over ten points with more than 99% of precincts reported. He bested Orthodox Rabbi David Hirsch (R) 55.29% to 44.71%.
The strength of Republicans in this once-untouchable district signals grassroots change at the local level that some think is the chipping away of the old Democratic guard in Queens, the key to making New York competitive statewide in the long run. In 2016, Senator Chuck Schumer (D) won this district with 77% of the vote against Wendy Long (R). In 2022, against Joe Pinion (R), Schumer won by just one percentage point, a dramatic swing of fifty-five points in one election cycle for that Senate seat.
Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) carried this district with 56% of the vote in his near-upset in the 2022 gubernatorial election.
While Joe Biden (D) won this district handily against Donald Trump (R) in 2020, it still swung five points to the right.
The only caveat to this margin is that it was a special election, which can always produce anomalous or outlier results. Still, the New York GOP will certainly interpret this as wind under their sails and use it to make the case for a changing New York.
Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) of the Second Congressional District has introduced legislation to require schools to add the events of the September 11 Attacks into their curricula nationwide.
We made a promise as a nation to ‘Never Forget’ the horrific events of September 11, 2001,” said Garbarino. “We made that promise for the 2,977 innocent victims and their families, for the survivors and first responders left to battle 9/11-related illnesses and injuries even two decades later, and as a signal to the world that we would continue strengthening our national security posture to ensure nothing like this attack ever happens on American soil again. It’s a promise we renew year after year, but you can’t promise to ‘Never Forget’ something you never knew. The only way for us to keep our promise is to make sure the next generation and every generation of Americans after that is taught about that day, the losses, the stories of American heroism and unity, and the lasting ramifications.”
Congressman Nick LaLota (R) of the First Congressional District signed as a cosponsor.
Currently, only fourteen states require students to be educated on the events of September 11: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Congressman LaLota issued a separate statement:
“On this day in September 2001, our country came under attack at the hands of terrorists who attempted to destroy our very way of life,” said LaLota. “While these terrorists failed in their goal, we remember and honor those innocent lives that were taken from us on that day. We also remember and honor the brave police officers, firefighters, first responders, and citizens who risked their lives to save countless others in New York City and across the country. We can never do enough to honor the memories of those we lost on 9/11. May God rest their souls and keep our country strong and free. God Bless America.”