A Blatantly Unconstitutional Gun Edict Highlights the Hazards of Emergency Powers

Source: Town Hall
Jacob Sullum

“When New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued ‘a public health emergency order’ that purportedly suspended the right to bear arms in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County last week, her justification was seemingly straightforward. ‘I have emergency powers,’ she told The New York Times. ‘Gun violence is an epidemic. Therefore, it’s an emergency.’ Grisham’s stunt was widely condemned as blatantly unconstitutional, even by some leading gun control supporters. But her legal rationale also underlined the perils posed by the sweeping emergency powers that legislators in many states have granted governors — a problem that was abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grisham, a Democrat, laid the ground for her ban on public possession of operable firearms last Thursday when she declared that gun violence in New Mexico ‘constitutes a statewide public health emergency of unknown duration’ under the state’s Public Health Emergency Response Act.” (09/13/23)