Not being privy to the inner workings of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, we don’t know how seriously Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is being considered as a potential running mate for the Democratic ticket. She’s reportedly in the top echelon of would-be choices.

For the record, she’s plenty capable, but we hope New Mexico gets to keep her. The state needs her leadership right now through the pandemic, budget crisis, police reform and economic recovery.

However, to give credit where credit is due, Lujan Grisham’s appearance Tuesday night with Chris Hayes on MSNBC shows her appeal. The governor was speaking about the horrific shooting of a protester Monday in Albuquerque.

As the entire world has seen, demonstrators advocating the removal of the Oñate statue had their gathering upended. First, there were members of a so-called citizen militia, heavily armed, on the scene, supposedly to protect public property. Their presence changed the tone of the gathering; people felt threatened from the beginning.

As multiple videos showed, a blue-shirted man assaulted two women, throwing one to the ground. Protesters chased him and one hit the man with a skateboard. The blue-shirted man began shooting and hit one of the protesters, effectively ending the demonstration. Eventually, members of the Albuquerque police force arrived.

That’s a lot to unpack.

Citizens have a First Amendment right to gather and address grievances — although we will argue that attempting to pull down the statue, as demonstrators were doing, goes beyond peaceful protest. The Second Amendment deals with the right to bear arms, including gathering with neighbors to form a militia and patrol, even when no one has requested your presence. Then, there’s responsibility of civic authorities to maintain public safety.

To add context to all of this, there is the concern some in the Albuquerque Police Department are too cozy with the civilian militia members, a suspicion reinforced by scanner traffic that referred to the gun-toting men as “armed friendlies.”

All of that, in one place, with a shooting at the end — the victim was critically injured but is expected to live. Militia members, for the record, say the suspect — Steven Ray Baca — is not associated with their group. Militia members were taken into custody after the shooting and later released. But here’s what was confiscated from five men: 13 weapons and 34 magazines.

And that’s the situation Lujan Grisham went on the air to discuss. Her ability to frame the issue and to think through the state’s responsibility demonstrates her ability to respond in a crisis. A presidential candidate needs a running mate who can make the case in a manner that appeals not just to supporters but those who are on the fence.

First, she promised that during the special session starting Thursday, New Mexico will deal with police reform: “Police reform and racial injustice are going to be topics that we will get through in a couple of days to see if we can’t do better than the militarization of our police and having militia engaged only to provoke violence at peaceful protests.”

She didn’t pull punches about the need to find out whether members of the Albuquerque police and members of the militia are allied. That’s going to be controversial among certain groups, but it’s the right approach.

It is in her discussion of the rights of citizens that Lujan Grisham showed other Democrats how to approach the controversial topic of gun rights: “All our constitutional rights are valid. My constitutional right to be safe in my community needs to be upheld. And we have got to stop this intimidation and stop allowing armed men and women whose only purpose is to create havoc and harm at these gatherings. It’s unacceptable. We have the ability to do something about it right now in this country. And New Mexico intends — and I intend — to do something about it.”

Whatever happens in the special session, investigation into militia groups and potential links to law enforcement will continue after the session. The governor announced Wednesday she is supporting making a police officer’s disciplinary history a matter of public record and wants that debated in the upcoming session, along with a ban on putting suspects in chokehold restraints and requiring officers to wear body cameras.

But there’s another immediate action the Legislature could take: Rescind the state’s open-carry law, among the most permissive in the country. It would no longer be legal to show up with a gun in public, whether at a protest, at a City Council meeting or in the Roundhouse. That would reduce the possibility of violence, something we need to do. When the open-carry law is gone, then move to the state’s concealed-carry statute — that will take leadership and likely should be dealt with in a longer legislative meeting.

To lead the charge in reforming police amid a pandemic and a budget crisis, Michelle Lujan Grisham needs to stay right where she is — as governor of New Mexico. But the appeal is real, no doubt about it.

(23) comments

Robert Ries

"The governor was speaking about the horrific shooting of a protester Monday in Albuquerque."

Ah, you mean the defensive shooting of a man who was criminally attacking a person who was retreating from a scuffle he didn't start?

"Their presence changed the tone of the gathering; people felt threatened from the beginning."

The "protestors" could only have felt threatened if they intended to do something legally and morally wrong. Which they did...

"As multiple videos showed, a blue-shirted man assaulted two women, throwing one to the ground."

Those women assaulted HIM first. They want equality. There it is. Why are you complaining about it?

"But here’s what was confiscated from five men: 13 weapons and 34 magazines."

So what? That's less than a carbine, pistol and knife each. And a rather small load of ammo.

"“Police reform and racial injustice are going to be topics that we will get through in a couple of days to see if we can’t do better than the militarization of our police..."

Fantastic. No disagreement here.

"...and having militia engaged only to provoke violence at peaceful protests.”

Oooooo, fun Strawman! Since the "militia" didn't provoke ANYTHING....

"...the need to find out whether members of the Albuquerque police and members of the militia are allied."

I'm wondering why police working WITH Citizens to ensure peaceful relations, and discourage breaking of laws needs to be investigated, since noe of them did ANYTHING wrong in this incident. (Well, maybe the police violation of the armed Citizens First, Second and Fourth Amendment Rights...)

"And we have got to stop this intimidation and stop allowing armed men and women whose only purpose is to create havoc and harm at these gatherings."

She needs to talk to the Lib-Progs who were there to riot and vandalize.

"Rescind the state’s open-carry law... then move to the state’s concealed-carry statute..."

And here we get to the core matter: You don't like Constitutional Rights when they interfere with your attempts at destruction and devisivness. So you want to end people's ability to defend themselves, and property.

Go be a Fascist somewhere else.

John Gault

Great Post. Grisham and her toadies in the legislature and the leftist SFNM will do everything they can to strip us of our constitutional rights.

William Tells

"Rescind the state’s open-carry law, among the most permissive in the country."

And this is why no one really takes the New Mexican Editorials seriously.

See, "the state's open-carry law" means Article II, Section 6 of the New Mexico Constitution. That's what "the law" is on this topic. It's why open-carry doesn't require a permit but CCW does, because AIISec6 specifically says that concealed carry of weapons requires a statute to allow such a thing.

So, to rid the State of open-carry requires a Constitutional Amendment. To do that both chambers need a majority vote in favor. If the amendment passes both Chambers then it goes to the people for a plebiscite, that is the entire state gets to vote on the issue.

You really think the Legislature wants to take a bite of that particular apple in a Special Session that's mostly about the budget, something the routinely have trouble with even in our "long year" legislative sessions?

kyle renfro

the president already outlawed choke holds in executive order yesterday, again mlg behind the bus grabbing others ideas as she is clueless

Comment deleted.
Khal Spencer

He was retreating when he was chased, tackled, knocked down, and assaulted. At the point where Baca used deadly force to defend himself he was no longer the aggressor. In fact, he was in full retreat.

Comment deleted.
Lupe Molina

Nah, everything you list here shows he doesn't have a self defense case. He showed up to engage with a bunch of potentially dangerous people. You can't instigate fights and then cry self defense when someone takes you up on it. He bit off more than he can chew. Should spend the rest of his life in jail.

kyle renfro

The governor announced she is supporting making a police officer's disciplinary history a matter of public record and wants that debated in the upcoming session, along with a ban on putting suspects in chokehold restraints and requiring officers to wear body cameras.

MLG doesn't have a grip on anything except the new Mexican. Just like any employee, their records and especially the discipline is confidential unless unsealed by a judge . If this were not the case we could see all her records also, after all she is a public figure. and we could see all her records. She always talks out the left side of her mouth and gets more leeway because she is an Hispanic female. She is a total incompetent and did nothing while a member of congress except spend taxpayers money. Soon she will alienate police and we will see the same blue flu prominent in Atlanta.

Emily Koyama

These anonymous "drive by" editorials by this paper are more than a little irritating....are they not comfortable enough in their opinions to put a name to their positions?

jeff jones

There is mass shootings and killings every day in Albuquerque, the governor doesn't bat an eye.

Some violent Lone Wolf shows up at a protest and shoots another group of violent protesters and all the sudden militia members are responsible and threats to society? This is ridiculous this Governor will stop at nothing to assault every single civil liberty she can under the threat and guise of "safety".

I am a gun owner my family is a gun owner we are responsible good hard-working people.

The governor has no problem with violence she endorses violence whenever it's violence that she supports and prefers

John Gault

The Governors only goal is to curry favor with the DNC. She wants to be the VP so bad there is nothing she wont do no matter how bad it hurts the state.

Ramon David

I dispute this: "The Second Amendment deals with the right to bear arms, including gathering with neighbors to form a militia and patrol, even when no one has requested your presence." The Second Amendment says nothing about patrolling when no one has requested your presence. This is vigilantism and the individual right to bear arms was only created in 2008 by activist conservative judges on the Supreme Court: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment

For the rest of our country’s history the 2nd amendment was interpreted by the courts as allowing the States to each arm a well regulated militia (under the control of the governor) to protect it from an overreaching federal government. That is why many places in the old west were able to keep guns out of towns:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gun-control-old-west-180968013/

Khal Spencer

Its not that simple. Prior to Heller, the Supreme Court never took on the individual rights question head on. States and localities had a myriad of different laws and restrictions. Miller dealt with the kinds of firearms that the 2A protected, i.e., those appropriate for that well regulated militia.

Indeed, in the context of the time the Constitution was written, rights were considered inalienable and the Bill of Rights proscribed what the government could not do to infringe on them. Government doesn't grant rights in the context of the Constitution. Government is prohibited from trampling on certain natural rights.

Nowhere in the 2A does it say "the states have the right to form militias". Its says the people have the right to keep and bear arms in the context of a well regulated militia, which in the context of the times meant a well oiled machine that could be called up in a crisis.

Gunfight, by Adam Winkler, is a good resource.

John Gault

In the vernacular of the time and in the context of the second amendment "well regulated" was defined as "well equipped".

Ramon David

"[When the Constitution was drafted], the militia was a state-based institution," says Rakove. "States were responsible for organizing this."

https://constitutioncenter.org/images/uploads/news/CNN_Aug_11.pdf

John Gault

Ramon, Rakove only told you the half he wanted you to know. There are two elements here. the Organized Militia and the Unorganized Militia. The Organized Militia if the state choses to have one and the Unorganized Militia who are controlled by no unless they chose to form a command structure. Who is the Unorganized Militia ? According to the founding documents, the Unorganized Militia consists of all able bodied men between the ages of 17 and 45. The Govt. does not have the means to arm the entire Unorganized Militia so they are expected to arm themselves, hence "the right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed".

There is only one valid and constitutional gun law in the land and that is the 2nd Amendment. All others have no constitutional standing and are just BS made up by the politicians and their attendant, black robed toadies in the judicial system.

Ramon David

Even so '“The interesting thing about District of Columbia v Heller is that Scalia had to accommodate the other four justices who ultimately sided with him, ” Choper says. “As a consequence, it provides a very limited interpretation of the Second Amendment. It stipulates that a person has the right to own a gun to protect himself or herself, family, and property. That’s it. The decision does not imply the right to carry a weapon in public, including public buildings.” - https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/just-in/2017-08-28/so-about-well-regulated-militia-part-constitution

Emily Koyama

So you feel a person should only have the right to defend themselves, their family, and property while they are ON their property? In public, they have to be unarmed? Sounds like "infringement" to me.

Bryan Bird

Great editorial SFNM and great comment Ramon. 👍

Michael Grimler

Mr. David, you need to read some other contemporaneous documents of the period to understand the intent of the Founding Fathers' and the resulting 2nd Amendment.

Emily Koyama

Of course the SFNM would like to see open carry done away with, and then concealed carry to follow. Obviously, they haven't dusted off the 2A lately. The part about keep and BEAR arms seems to escape them. What do the think the word "bear" means? A large flurry mammal?

Khal Spencer

Its typical for the New Mexican to go off the rails when it comes to guns, given its uber-leftist bent. There is nothing wrong with open carry in a non-confrontational context. If one is out and about peacefully and stops to get gas with a holstered gun, so what? What is at issue here is whether armed private militias can parade and infuse themselves in protests or other organized publicactivities. Two things here.

One, other states allow private militias, since it is tough to distinguish between a militia and a gun club. They regulate these groups and proscribe parading or otherwise insinuating themselves in public demonstrations as organized armed groups. That is what needs to be addressed. Look at other state laws. That is what the legislature researchers are supposed to do. Heck, I even have a compendium of other state laws on private militias, which is probably more than what the New Mexican staff has gathered.

Two, the state has to stop having a double standard and allowing various groups to go about destroying public property and then acting shocked when there is an angry response. I for one do not want to see lethal force used to defend a stone monument but neither do I wish to see yahoos running around thinking they can destroy things with impunity. Seems to me we can already address that under the law by ensuring no one is allowed to destroy property. I also wonder what is permitted under the Riot Act, which seems to be a fig leaf for whatever the governor wants it to be.

Can we focus the discussion, please?

Khal Spencer

Here is that reference.

https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/04/Prohibiting-Private-Armies-at-Public-Rallies.pdf

Prohibiting Private Armies at Public Rallies

A Catalog of Relevant State Constitutional and Statutory Provisions

February 2018

95 pages.

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