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New Mexico Opens Phone Bank, Calls for Gun Control

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and former Arizona Congressmember Gabby Giffords partnered to open a new phone bank location in Santa Fe and spoke against gun violence at events across the state.

(TNS) — Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords joined Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in Santa Fe on Sunday to open a new phone bank location, the culmination of a weekend of campaigning across the state for the incumbent Democratic governor.

The focus of the event, located in front of an office at 1660 Old Pecos Trail, was on efforts to prevent gun violence, an issue that is becoming a key talking point heading into the November election.

"We just never move the needle," Lujan Grisham said. "There is a grip on this country by the NRA; their candidates refuse to uphold this constitution. You and I ... have a constitutional right to be safe in our home and our schools and our community.

"Until that is obtained by every single gun-safety effort, we are going to keep fighting," she added.

Giffords, a Democrat who represented a purple Tucson-area district in the U.S. House, was shot in the head and severely injured during a public event in 2011 in a mass shooting that killed six people. She resigned from Congress a year later and since has become a prominent gun control advocate.

Locked in what could be a close race with Republican Mark Ronchetti, Lujan Grisham has been on a four-day campaign sprint with Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, including stops in Las Cruces, the South Valley, Albuquerque, Gallup and Farmington.

"I am right in there with people who care about choice," Lujan Grisham said, "who care about gun violence and who care about infrastructure and who want to know they have a governor who can manage in an emergency."

During the event, which was attended by about 50 or so people, including members of the Santa Fe City Council and Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners, the governor shared a story of a recent parade in Sandoval County, where a man with an AR- or AK-style rifle attempted to intimidate her group.

"Stopping gun violence takes courage," Giffords said. "The courage to do what is right, the courage for new ideas. I saw great courage when my own life was on the line; now is the time to come together and be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, we can not ever stop fighting — fight, fight fight!"

Ronchetti has criticized Lujan Grisham's record on guns and has come out against further gun control laws. On his website, he pledges to oppose "efforts by liberal gun-grabbers who seek to criminalize law-abiding gun owners rather than focus on prosecuting criminals.

"From supporting efforts to outlaw certain firearms and magazines to even banning gun shows at Expo, the current governor has made her opposition to gun rights disturbingly clear," Ronchetti said.

Lujan Grisham took a moment Sunday to take a jab at Ronchetti's stance on firearms.

"You have someone who has no interest in upholding your, mine, constitutional rights to be safe in our own homes," Lujan Grisham said.

Bernadette Vadurro, chairwoman of the Santa Fe County Democratic Party, accused right-wing media of trying to scare people by saying Lujan Grisham will take people's guns away.

"She's not going to take people's guns away," Vadurro said. "What she is going to do is make sure that guns are in responsible people's hands. If you need a license to drive a car, in my opinion, you should have a license on how to use a gun."

For state Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D- Santa Fe, the stakes are clear. A Lujan Grisham win means "everything is on the table" in terms of state-level gun legislation, while a Ronchetti wins means the opposite.

"We can't get ahead of ourselves," Wirth said. "We are here today to make darn sure that this governor gets reelected because, if she doesn't, understand what that means. All gun policy ideas are basically out the window."

(c)2022 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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