New Mexico's Democratic attorney general notified the governor, a fellow Democrat, on Tuesday that he will not defend her in litigation challenging her public health order temporarily banning firearms in certain counties and imposing other gun restrictions.
The prohibition applies to Albuquerque and Bernalillo counties.
"Though I recognize my statutory obligation as New Mexico's chief legal officer to defend state officials when they are sued in their official capacity, my duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen takes precedence," New Mexico attorney general Raúl Torrez wrote to fellow Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a letter. "Simply put, I do not believe that the Emergency Order will have any meaningful impact on public safety but, more importantly, I do not believe it passes constitutional muster."
NM Attorney General Raul Torrez says he will NOT defend the governor in several already filed lawsuits related to her 30-day gun ban. "I do not believe that the Emergency Order will have any meaningful impact on public safety…I do not believe it passes constitutional muster." pic.twitter.com/XsgZjie2eT
— Brittany Costello (@BrittanyKOB) September 12, 2023
Multiple plaintiffs — the National Association for Gun Rights, We the Patriots USA, residents of the affected counties, and Gun Owners of America — filed lawsuits against Grisham and her administration over the dictate.
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen announced Monday that his office would not enforce the order, arguing that it is unconstitutional, according to the NM Political Report. Asked for comment by the outlet, Grisham replied that her administration had "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."