Business owners, New Mexicans respond to judge’s blocking of public health order

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There’s a sign sitting proudly in the front window of Groove Boutique in uptown Albuquerque. It’s a warning to potential criminals: “Concealed carry permit on premises.”

“It’s basically what it’s come down to protect myself, to protect my employees,” said Leticia Leyba, the owner of the boutique.

In the months since she opened the boutique, Leyba has been through multiple break-ins, and a life-threatening situation involving a homeless man.

“I decided enough is enough, I had to protect myself,” she said. “That was after I contacted APD. I contacted the mayor’s office, I contacted city council, I went through all the avenues that I thought as a citizen, as a business owner, I could go through to get some kind of protection. They all failed me. So that’s when I decided to protect myself.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order last week forced her to reconsider that decision last week.

“I think she targeted the wrong people,” said 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.