An Albuquerque, New Mexico gun store owner says he will defy Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s state of emergency order requiring firearm retailers to shut down, even as a lawsuit challenging Grisham’s order awaits a hearing in federal court.
Louie Sanchez, who owns Calibers gun shop, tells KOB-TV in Albuquerque that the public health order from Grisham is an unconstitutional overreach.
“So, we at Calibers have decided that we are going to open up with social distancing on our range,” Sanchez said. “And you know what, we’re going to take this fight back to her. We feel that unless, somehow, she got a magical power to take the Second Amendment out of our constitution, that we have the right to open up.”
Sanchez says when his establishment does re-open, employees will practice social distancing measures to help keep customers and staff safe. He also told KOB that Calibers is continuing to train folks at the store as well.
“We are indeed doing education courses, just one person, one trainer at six feet social distancing,” he said. “And we’re allowing for military and law enforcement to utilize our ranges.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Gov. Grisham’s office claims that the governor “unequivocally” supports the Second Amendment, but apparently that support doesn’t extend to folks acquiring firearms for self defense in a state of emergency.
The state has taken and will continue to take an extremely broad view of what is considered non-essential to public health amid this pandemic. Gun stores are hardly the only entity having to adapt as we work to stem illnesses and prevent deaths. No one is happy about closing in-person business in our state – no one, including the governor. But it is inarguable that the only way we get through this pandemic with the fewest number of deaths that we can manage is to limit travel outside of the home to the greatest extent possible – and while we as an administration unequivocally support the constitutional right to purchase a firearm, we recognize that right does not correspond to a right to congregate in a store and infect neighbors and workers and public safety officers amid an unprecedented global pandemic.
The last line of the statement by spokeswoman Nora Meyers Hackett really sums up the governor’s position. It doesn’t matter how many social distancing measures gun stores and ranges put in place, Gov. Grisham simply wants these stores closed. The ATF has already told gun stores that they can conduct business outside, which would mean that customers aren’t “congregating” in the store. In fact, if Calibers and other New Mexico gun stores were to operate by appointment only, there wouldn’t be any congregating either.
Grisham’s position is that police should still be able to enter Sanchez’s gun store, but only police. That makes no sense, either from a public health or a constitutional standpoint.
Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit filed by several Second Amendment organizations and New Mexico residents challenging Grisham’s order is awaiting a hearing on a request for a temporary injunction against the portion of the governor’s order mandating that gun stores close. Hopefully it won’t be long before that hearing takes place, but in the meantime, at least one gun shop in the state is willing to risk the wrath of the governor in order to continue to serve the community in a time of crisis.