Gun stores ordered closed by several anti-gun elected officials are open for business today after stunning reversals on Monday in the state of New Jersey and Los Angeles County. The Washington Free Beacon‘s Stephen Gutowski joins me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co to talk about the latest developments, and well as the few remaining holdouts that are still preventing firearms retailers from selling to customers.
While Gov. Phil Murphy in New Jersey and Sheriff Alex Villanueva in Los Angeles County have allowed stores to re-open, albeit with some restrictions, the governors in several other states are still being very vague about whether gun stores can open or not. According to the latest guidance from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there are now no states that are outright prohibiting gun stores from conducting business, as was the case in New Jersey. However, the executive orders issued by governors in California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont have all declined to declare gun stores essential businesses to this point.
Regulations vary from state to state, with Maine, for instance, ordering businesses that only sell firearms and ammunition to close, while stores that sell guns and ammunition along with “essential” items allowed to remain open and firearms sales to take place. In New Mexico, there’s also an exemption for stores that sell “household consumer products” or “services necessary to maintain the safety of residences”, according to the NSSF, and the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on Monday that some stores in the state are staying open in apparent defiance of the governor’s order.
“The challenge is the governor’s order is incomprehensible,” said Mark Abramson, owner of Los Ranchos gun store in Albuquerque, which is only allowing people to pick up firearms they’d already purchased before the order took effect.
“There’s a clear exception for security and police, and the challenge is if you’re a hardware store that sells guns, it appears you’re OK,” he said. “If you’re a gas station that sells ammunition, you’re OK. They appear to be, in enforcement, anyway, selecting a single industry, yet we’re providing the same service.
“The police have driven by like four times to make sure we’re shut down or largely shut down, and we are,” Abramson added.
Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in an email the order is clear: “If a business is not listed as essential in the order, then they’re not essential and they are ordered closed.
“Businesses need to be looking for ways to opt into the order to close, not for excuses to opt out,” Sackett continued. “This is true for every single business in every single industry. We understand it’s so hard for businesses to change or suspend their operations in this way. But public health demands it. … This is the only way we will slow the spread of the virus.”
If I were a gun store in New Mexico, I think I’d probably start offering a few hammers and nails for sale as well and call myself a hardware store. Interestingly enough, the public health order issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham does allow for armed security services to continue to operate, but if your personal safety is a do-it-yourself job, you’re out of luck unless you’ve already acquired your firearms and ammunition or live near a store that sells firearms in addition to other “essential” goods.
Be sure to check out the entire interview with Stephen Gutowski above, and stick around afterwards for today’s recidivist report, our armed citizen story, and today’s good deed as well. Thanks for watching, listening, and spreading the word!