Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Run Down: Lujan Grisham Takes Aim at Guns


Gov. Michelle Lujan riled up everyone from gun owners to run of the mill fans of the Constitution—and made national headlines at the same time—after she issued an executive order that bans both concealed and open-carried guns in public.

The order, which has some exceptions, was spurred by the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy last week outside the Isotopes stadium.

“The time for standard measures has passed,” Lujan Grisham said in a news release last week.

The order exempts gun shops, shooting ranges and shooting competitions and is tailored to only include Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. During a news briefing last week Lujan Grisham conceded that enforcement could get tricky and said she fully expects legal challenges.

Like clockwork, opponents began planning legal action, protests and a call for impeachment.

So far, at least one gun rights group asked a federal judge to rule the order unconstitutional and invalidate the order until the proceedings come to an end.

State Rep. Stefani Lord, R-Sandia Park, in a written statement said she asked “legal counsel” to start impeachment paperwork.

Within 24 hours, social media platforms were brimming with people planning various protests throughout the week.

How enforcement will work is still somewhat foggy as both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office signaled they’re not completely on board with the order.

Both Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Harold Medina issued their own run-of-the-mill statements, signaling support for battling gun violence, but neither offered full-throated support of the order.

Keller said in his statement that he didn’t expect rank and file officers to enforce the order but that they would continue to “enforce all criminal laws, combat gun violence, and push for needed justice in our city.”

Medina nearly side-stepped the issue completely, opting to call on the governor and the Legislature to address “meaningful change” during next year’s 30-day session.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman said in a statement that his office would not enforce the “clearly unconstitutional” order.

Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen bluntly said in a news release over the weekend that his officers will not be enforcing the order.

Despite both the city and county law enforcement agencies’ resistance to enforce the order, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico expressed concern in a news release that the wider scope of the entire order—which includes efforts to curb drug abuse—will result in over-policing.

City Beer Money

Ex Novo Brewing Co. is getting a funding boost for its planned downtown taproom from a city grant. The brewery, which already has a Corrales location, is set to use $75,000 from the city’s Storefront Activation Grant program towards revamping the old Firestone building on the corner of Central Ave. and 7th Street.

Ex Novo founder Joel Gregory said in a statement that the company decided to expand into the area in anticipation of widespread revitalization in the future.

“Ex Novo chose the downtown core as our second New Mexico location because of the current and expected future vibrancy of the area,” Gregory said.

Mayor Tim Keller said in the same news release that the city chose Ex Novo as a grant recipient with the hope that the planned taproom, restaurant and large outdoor patio will serve as an anchor for more development.

“We’re so happy to see a local success story like this one writing its next chapter downtown with the help of this transformative City program,” said.

The city’s redevelopment grant program, according to the city’s news release, aims to “support thriving urban districts with goals to attract established businesses with existing customer base; improve safety by increasing foot traffic to new businesses; decrease the number of vacant commercial spaces in Downtown Albuquerque; and create an attractive physical environment with well-designed and engaging storefronts.”

Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency Director Terry Brunner encouraged other businesses to apply for the city grant program.

“These grants are a powerful incentive offered by our department to support local businesses and create opportunities for them to thrive,” Brunner said.

For the Children

A number of young chess fans will have a chance to compete in a huge tournament this weekend in downtown Albuquerque. But they may also get a chance to meet The Genius, AKA, GZA from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. GZA, along with Learners Chess Academy and the City of Albuquerque, is hosting the tournament at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Space is limited so spots may already be filled, but GZA will also perform a free concert on an outdoor stage positioned off Central Ave., between 6th and 7th Streets.

The tournament and live performance are free, but registration is required for both. GZA is a committed chess player and a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan—a group that the late member Ol’ Dirty Bastard once proclaimed “is for the children.” Sounds like Dirt McGirt was on to something.


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