Firearms instructor says governor's carry ban backfired

Firearms instructor and owner of Albuquerque’s Bosque Tactical Phil Buckles has been a little busier than usual over the past week, thanks in large part to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional order suspending the right to carry in the city and surrounding Bernalillo County. Buckles joined me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co to talk about the governor’s order, which a federal judge halted on Wednesday afternoon, and shared that the governor’s edict seems to have spurred interest in the right to carry.


Buckles says that he went from getting a few phone calls a week inquiring about concealed carry classes to several phone calls each day after Grisham announced that those caught carrying, either openly or concealed, would be subject to civil fines, and he expects interest to remain high now that the federal courts have halted her order.

When the firearms instructor first learned about the governor’s order, he says he was both angered and amused; enraged at the governor’s attempt to strip lawful citizens of their right to armed self-defense, and rolling his eyes at the ridiculousness of trying to prevent violent crime by targeting responsible gun owners instead of criminals. Buckles says there are plenty of things that Grisham and the Democrats in charge of the state legislature could be doing to fight the high rates of violent crime in Albuquerque, starting with delivering consequences for criminal offenses.

“We have story after story of the revolving door of our criminal justice system, where people are arrested and a few days later they’re back out on the streets to do it again. People get released and put on an ankle monitor for violent crimes and what do they do? They cut it off and they go right back to doing what they’re doing. Enforce the laws that are already on the books and provide sentences to these criminals. That would be a big step in the right direction.”


That might be too much to ask of the governor, who still seems intent on scapegoating responsible gun owners for the actions of criminals. There are plenty of Albuquerque gun owners like Buckles, however, who are fed up with Grisham’s grandstanding at the expense of their right to protect themselves.

“I think she targeted the wrong people,” said [business owner Letitia] Leyba. “Anybody that’s responsible enough to actually go and get a permit and go through the process to legally own a gun are not the people that’s going out and committing these crimes.”

She, along with other New Mexicans, breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday after a federal judge temporarily blocked that order.

“Finally, somebody’s thinking straight,” said Leyba. “Somebody is seeing what’s going on in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico, and someone’s being logical.”

“The criminals don’t care; you know you have to protect yourself,” said Ben Martinez, an Albuquerque native. “That’s a one up for the people.”

Others like David Price, a local delivery driver, also agree.

“It’s a desperate order to take law-abiding citizens and turn us into criminals,” said Price. “I don’t want to use a gun against anyone but I believe I have a right to carry that for protection.”

Leyba now hopes to get away from the debate over the Governor’s order, and back to Albuquerque’s real issues.

“All the lawmakers need to step up and see what’s going on. Albuquerque is the biggest city in New Mexico. We’re what’s making most revenue. We need protection down here,” she said.

In the short term, Leyba and others will at least see more officers on the streets, with Grisham announcing shortly after her emergency order was put on ice that New Mexico State Police will soon be patrolling in Bernalillo County. Unfortunately, the governor may still have some other punishment for gun owners in mind as well. Her statement on Wednesday afternoon included an oblique reference to “updat[ing] the public health order with additional measures to address public safety and health.” What those measures will be is anyone’s guess at the moment, but if Grisham’s a glutton for punishment she may very well try to once again impose a unilateral infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.


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