Last week, several Second Amendment organizations, gun stores, and individual New Mexico residents filed a federal lawsuit challenging Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s stay-at-home order, which does not consider gun stores to be essential businesses that are allowed to remain open. Even before a federal judge has issued a ruling on the request for a temporary injunction blocking the governor’s order from remaining in effect, however, some gun shops in the state are opening their doors and defying the governor.

The CEO of an Albuquerque gun store and shooting range that has reopened amid a statewide order closing nonessential businesses is defending the legality of the move, putting the shop at apparent odds with law enforcement and the Governor’s Office.

Calibers, which operates three Albuquerque locations, including a gun safe store, reopened using a curbside model this week as of Wednesday. CEO Ryan Burt said the store’s operations are legal because it is following Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s mandate regarding social distancing and limiting gatherings to five or fewer people.

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace joins me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, and says he’s backing the shops that are either re-opening their doors or never closed them to begin with, including two gun shops in his county. You won’t see Cibola County deputies citing any gun shops in the country for continuing their operations, because Mace says those stores are essential.

“People absolutely need to be able to purchase firearms to protect their families, to protect their property, to protect their livelihood, whatever it may be. Just because the virus is going around doesn’t change anything,” Mace vehemently stated. “In fact, when you’re talking about releasing inmates from custody, you’re introducing that criminal element back into the community and they’re going to do whatever they can to survive.”

Sheriff Mace emphatically stated that our right to keep and bear arms doesn’t disappear in a state of emergency, and beyond the desire from many residents to purchase a gun for self-defense, those rural residents may need to purchase ammunition and fishing tackle (also available at the gun shops) to help feed their families by hunting and fishing.

While there haven’t been many positive tests for the coronavirus in Cibola County, Sheriff Mace says the county has been deeply affected by the economic slowdown, and today deputies were delivering pallets of food to the Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation in the western part of the county. Mace also says its business as usual at the Cibola County jail, and no inmates have been released early as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be sure to check out the entire interview with Sheriff Tony Mace above, and stick around even more stories, including a Pennsylvania man on probation for a 2016 shooting who’s now behind bars for spitting in the face of a grocery store employee, an Arkansas man who held a pair of burglars at bay until police arrived, and a Columbus, Ohio police officer who went above and beyond to help the victim of a financial scam.