Where the lawsuits attempting to block NM firearm restrictions stand

Hearing scheduled for Tuesday canceled the same day judge set it

By: - September 12, 2023 4:34 am

A man who would only identify himself as “Reverend Rico” holds a Bible, a handgun strapped to his hip, as he watches speakers at a protest Sept. 10, 2023 in Old Town against the governor’s executive order. (Photo by Patrick Lohmann / Source NM)

It’s up to federal judges to choose how and when to proceed on lawsuits filed over the weekend attempting to block a public health order issued last week by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that, among other things, restricts the possession of guns in public.

A hearing is supposed to be scheduled for at least one lawsuit in the future but that date is unknown as of Monday evening.

The cases are now in the hands of U.S. District Judge David Urias and U.S. Magistrate Judge Laura Fashing. On Monday, they were assigned to the four lawsuits. Their next step is to figure out if and when to schedule hearings.

This is an ongoing story that will be updated as we get more information.

On Sept. 8, Lujan Grisham and Department of Health Secretary Patrick Allen signed a 30-day order that prohibits anyone in Albuquerque or Bernalillo County from possessing a firearm in public, whether it’s concealed or open carry.

Since then, there have been four civil lawsuits filed against Lujan Grisham, Allen and other New Mexico officials, all focused on blocking the gun restrictions included in the public health order. 

The cases all have similar requests to federal judges seeking to stop the enforcement of Lujan Grisham’s order in the immediate and long-term future.

More lawsuits could still come. The New Mexico Shooting Sports Association told the New York Times on Saturday it was in the process of filing another lawsuit, which hadn’t been submitted as of Friday evening.

Information about what’s happening with each lawsuit can be found below.

Hearing postponed for Donk v. Grisham

Urias had scheduled a hearing for Tuesday for the lawsuit filed by the Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America Inc. and Bernalillo County resident Randy Donk. It was canceled on Monday afternoon, the same day it was scheduled.

The hearing will be rescheduled at a later date, according to online records from the federal courts system.

A federal judge will determine the request to temporarily exempt officials like state officers from having to enforce Lujan Grisham’s public health order. 

The three other lawsuits are also seeking the same from a federal judge.

The lawsuit filed on Saturday names Lujan Grisham, Allen, New Mexico Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Jason Bowie and New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weilser as defendants.

The lawsuit asks that the defendants have no chance to respond to the requested temporary restraining order.

The plaintiffs are represented by Albuquerque-based attorney Mark Carus.

Judges assigned to National Association for Gun Rights v. Grisham

The National Association for Gun Rights and Albuquerque resident Foster Allen Haines, represented by Albuquerque attorney Timothy White, filed their lawsuit against Lujan Grisham and Allen on Saturday.

Urias and Fashing are the judges assigned for this case.

There’s no scheduled hearing date, as of Monday evening.

White requested that a hearing be set within a week.

He also filed a notice on Monday that the three other civil lawsuit cases are related to this one with overlapping defendants, claims or parties.

Judges assigned to Blas v. Grisham

The case filed by Bernalillo County resident Shawn Blas, represented by Albuquerque-based attorney Marc Lowry, on Sunday sues Lujan Grisham and Allen as well as the general Office of the Governor and the New Mexico Department of Health.

Urias and Fashing are the assigned judges for this case.

There’s no scheduled hearing date, as of Monday evening.

Lowry had requested on Monday that a half hour-long hearing be set for the same day, which didn’t happen.

The defendants got a summons to court on Monday for this case.

Judges assigned to We The Patriots USA INC. v. Grisham

We The Patriots USA, Inc., a nonprofit focused on protecting constitutional rights, and Dennis Smith, Albuquerque resident and member of We The Patriots, are represented by Connecticut-based attorney Cameron Atkinson and Gallup, N.M.-based attorney Jeremy Gay in this case.

Their lawsuit, filed on Saturday, names Lujan Grisham, Allen, Bowie, Weisler and Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina as defendants.

Urias and Fashing are the assigned judges for this case.

There’s no scheduled hearing date, as of Monday evening.

Atkinson also requested on Monday that a 30-minute hearing be set for the same day, which didn’t happen.

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Megan Gleason
Megan Gleason

Megan Gleason is a journalist based in Albuquerque. She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the Daily Lobo. Other work has appeared under the New Mexico Press Association as well as in the Independent, Gallup Sun and Silver City Daily Press.