Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham says that New Mexico gun stores can re-open beginning today, as long as they operate by appointment only. The about-face from the governor comes as she announced an extension of her stay-at-home order on Thursday, but also backed off her order closing all non-essential businesses.

Under the new rules laid out by Grisham, some, but not all, of her earlier restrictions have been relaxed. From KOB-TV:

  • Non-essential retailers can operate via curbside service or delivery– where permitted by their license (Does not include liquor stores)
  • Gun stores will be allowed to operate by appointment only
  • Pet services will also be allowed to operate
  • Golf courses allowed to open for golf only- non dine-in food service or retail

The governor also announced the businesses that will have to remain closed under the new health order, and other restrictions.

  • Offices, workspaces, retailers (except for curbside/delivery)
  • Dine-in restaurants and bars (except for curbside/delivery)
  • Indoor malls, gyms, salons, theaters and casinos to remain closed
  • Mass gatherings prohibited
  • 14-day quarantine order remains in place for out-of-state airport travel

Grisham said she’s modifying the stay-at-home order because the state is “bending the curve” in terms of new cases, even though one state official expects the number of new coronavirus cases will grow for at least another month.

Using new projections based on research from Los Alamos National Lab, Dr. David Scrase of the Human Services Department said he expects cases in New Mexico to continue to grow over next six weeks. The models predict 7,200 COVID-19 cases by beginning of June.

Dr. Scrase also said all 14 ICU beds in McKinley County area are full. Patients in the area are being transported to Albuquerque, where adjustments are being made to expand ICU capabilities because ICU beds at the major hospitals are also full.

Grisham will never admit it, but I suspect that the biggest reason for the changes to her stay-at-home order is the fact that counties and cities around the state were beginning to disregard her orders anyway. The mayor of Grants, New Mexico allowed businesses to re-open on Monday of this week, though Grisham sent the state police to cite any establishment that listened to the mayor and defied the governor. Eighteen other mayors joined with the mayor of Grants in a letter to the governor urging her to rescind her order, and some mayors have even declared economic emergencies in their communities because of the shutdown orders.

Some gun shops in the state never did shut their doors, but now all of them will once again be able to serve customers without risking legal action. As for the lawsuit filed by Second Amendment organizations challenging the governor’s gun store shutdowns, it will likely continue. After all, there’s no reason why the governor couldn’t modify her order again, and she may very well do so if coronavirus cases continue to climb. There are still grave constitutional issues at stake here, and I hope that the courts will send a clear message to the governor that she doesn’t have the power to suspend the right to acquire a firearm, even in a state of emergency.