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Commentary: Grisham’s anti-gun order would have left my wife and me defenseless
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Commentary: Grisham’s anti-gun order would have left my wife and me defenseless

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham last week suspended laws allowing law-abiding citizens to carry firearms, either openly or concealed, in Albuquerque for 30 days. Her reason? A “public health emergency” stemming from a rash of deaths, including that of an 11-year-old boy.

The order is plainly unconstitutional and will not accomplish what the governor claims it will — namely, a reduction in gun violence perpetrated by criminals who don’t abide by concealed-carry rules in the first place.

The good news is that the people of New Mexico are not sitting still for the governor’s outrageous, unconstitutional power grab. Even state Attorney General Raúl Torrez, a fellow Democrat, said Tuesday the governor’s order does not “pass constitutional muster” and that he would not defend it in court. A federal judge on Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order blocking the order from being enforced.

But that shouldn’t be the end of the story. Gov. Grisham needs to be held accountable.

Having nearly bled to death from a robber’s gunshot wounds in Albuquerque, New Mexico — saving myself and my wife by returning fire with my own legal handgun — I have a unique perspective on Grisham’s ill-conceived anti-gun decree that deprives law-abiding citizens of their right to self-defense.

Grisham’s order pole-vaults over the fine line between reason and insanity. She has trashed the U.S. Constitution and abandoned the people of New Mexico.

A review of her record confirms the troubling facts: She is a moneyed, politically well-born bureaucrat with no sense of the real world. She showed herself to be untrustworthy, as the House Ethics Committee discovered when she served in Congress. There are more recent reports of campaign finance sleight-of-hand. And during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the Democratic governor flouted her own rules, held in-person meetings, and spent thousands of dollars on booze and luxury goods such as Wagyu beef.

But the worst of it is that she already has failed in her job as governor and chief law enforcement officer of New Mexico by allowing rampant lethal criminality to flourish.

Instead of fixing the problem, she has tried to camouflage her inability to protect her constituents by declaring, in a Hillary Clinton-style “What difference does it make?" moment, that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is “optional” simply because she says so.

She has chosen to disarm the entire law-abiding population of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County at the precise moment when danger from armed criminals is the greatest.

Whose side is she on exactly?

If I had the chance to meet Gov. Grisham, I would ask if she’s ever faced the muzzle of a pistol in the hand of a drug-crazed criminal.

Well, I have. In Albuquerque, on the night of June 30, 2015, in a hotel room as I emerged from the shower wet, naked, and shivering from the air conditioning.

Has she ever been shot by a criminal threatening her spouse? Well, I have. I was shot three times. Two of those 9mm rounds entered and exited my body, which left me with five bleeding wounds.

Does she have any idea what bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds feels like? Well, I do. And I know what nearly bleeding to death sounds like. I will never forget the sickening sound of my blood splattering on that motel room floor.

It’s safe to say Gov. Grisham doesn’t know about any of that, and as long as she has her taxpayer-funded armed protective detail, she never will.

And I hope she never has to.

Had Grisham’s decree been in force that night in 2015, my pistol — and one carried by my very brave wife, Lynne Russell — would have been locked away, and we would have been forced to defend ourselves with our bare hands, surely with tragic results: our deaths, in two large pools of blood.

Thank God Grisham was not in office then! My wife was able to slip one of the weapons to me, and when the gangbanger opened fire, I returned fire. The bad guy was not expecting a former soldier whose military training from four decades earlier kicked in. The assailant was left with fatal wounds in both lungs, his sternum, and his jaw. The laptop computer he tried to steal and was holding against his gut took three more rounds. That four-second firefight was the end of the road for the criminal.

But for me, it was the beginning of a fight for life, with 10 surgeries and a long recovery. I still have bullet fragments in my leg.

If Grisham faced the same situation, would she rather have a pistol with which to defend herself or go like a sheep to the slaughter?

Depriving people of their rights in the name of “public health” will result in needless tragedy and death. My wife and I know this all too well. If Gov. Grisham had had her way in 2015, I doubt I could have written this.

Chuck de Caro was CNN's very first special assignments correspondent. Educated at Marion Military Institute and the U.S. Air Force Academy, he later served with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He has taught information warfare at the National Defense University and the National Intelligence University. He was an outside consultant for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment for 25 years. A pilot since he was 17, he is currently working on a book about the World War I efforts of Fiorello La Guardia, Giulio Douhet, and Gianni Caproni, which led directly to today’s U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command.

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