New Mexico’s governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, has stirred controversy by temporarily banning the carrying of firearms in Bernalillo County, an area facing rising gun violence. One prominent voice in support of her decision is Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe.
Reacting to the rising numbers of gun deaths in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, Wester stated, “The crisis we are experiencing is both deplorable and tragic.” He urged the community to rally behind the governor’s move.
“The real issue at hand is the sanctity of human life,” emphasized Wester. He went on to say, “Governor Lujan Grisham is not attacking the Second Amendment. She’s addressing a genuine crisis.”
Governor Grisham’s decision came on the back of several recent shooting incidents in Albuquerque, some involving children. The governor labeled the gun violence as a “public health emergency,” leading her to suspend the carrying of firearms in public spaces within the county for a month.
Many have debated the legality of the ban, calling it unconstitutional. But Wester argued against this narrative. “This isn’t about threatening the constitution,” he said. “The main focus should be human life.”
The governor’s decision has seen its fair share of pushback. Many residents of Albuquerque have taken to the streets in protest, showcasing their firearms. Additionally, the Albuquerque mayor and police chief have voiced their reluctance in enforcing the ban. However, Grisham remains undeterred, with her office ensuring that “the order is being enforced, with citations soon to be issued.”
Addressing the matter, the Archbishop quoted Pope Francis’s past statements after a 2021 Texas shooting, where the Pope called for a halt to “indiscriminate trafficking of weapons.”
Wester ended on a poignant note: “An 11-year-old boy lost his life to a bullet in a road rage incident. That’s where our outcry should be, not on the right to carry a gun.”
He urged the faithful to pray for gun violence victims and work towards a solution to this growing menace.