Former Atascadero police chief refuses to close his gun store

March 21, 2020

Rooster’s Firearms on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Richard Bastian

Update: San Luis Obispo County Administrator Wade Horton announced on Sunday that based on a request from Sheriff Ian Parkinson, the county plans to remove firearm stores from the list of businesses required to temporarily close their doors. As of March 23, firearm stores can legally open for business as long as social distancing requirements are met.


A former Atascadero police chief, who currently owns Rooster’s Firearms Cocked & Loaded in Templeton, has refused to abide by San Luis Obispo County’s shelter at home order. The county specifically lists firearm stores as businesses required to “close their physical locations.”

With approximately 30 people in line inside his store waiting to buy guns and ammunition, Jim Mulhall appears to be profiting from public concerns over the coronavirus. And while most of Templeton is eerily quiet with empty parking places, Mulhall’s shop is crowded and the parking area is full.

The Rooster’s Firearms’ parking lot on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Richard Bastian

When asked why he was open following the shelter at home order, Mulhall said he was selling protection to law-abiding people. An employee ordered a reporter not to take photos in the store, and then unsuccessfully attempted to stop the journalist from taking photos outside.

Very few cars parked Main Street in Templeton. Photo by Richard Bastian

Violating the county shelter in place order, for profit or not, is a misdemeanor punishable by fines, jail time, or both.

While multiple SLO County gun dealers are following the county order to temporarily shut their doors, the owner of Uncle Ed’s Outfitters has also chosen to remain open in spite of the emergency order.

Uncle Ed’s Outfitters on Saturday. Photo by Richard Bastian

An employee at the Atascadero store, who refused to divulge his name, claimed the undersheriff said their store could remain open because his Second Amendment rights.

While the Second Amendment allows citizens to bear arms, it does not require gun store to remain open during an emergency.

Even so, a sheriff’s dispatcher said the sheriff’s department is following county rules, which require firearm stores to close their physical locations.

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So why are the smoke shops open? Because we cannot risk being accused of bias against Middle Eastern immigrants. Jim Mulhall does not have that card in his pocket.


We have to work together. There is Freedom of religion, but right now you can’t go to church for a short time. There is the right to protest, but right now you can’t protest as a group anywhere. While there is a right to bear arms, people can’t buy guns from an open store right now. They can order guns and ammunition and they can have a gun in their homes, but that is not good enough?.

We are all giving up things we like to do. We need to work together to stop this virus. I support the right to bear arms, but the need to buy a gun this week should not be more important than public health.

There are already multiple people in the Templeton area who are sick with the coronavirus. A little restraint to protect the old and weak in our community should not be that big a deal.


Sanity, the post.


You cannot “order” guns or ammunition without entering a gun store. It is illegal in California (despite what every ignorant leftist tells you) to mail order firearms or ammunition, or buy either on the internet, or buy them from an acquaintance. Each and every firearm and ammunition transaction MUST be done through a federally licensed dealer. Even then, there will be a 10 day wait on the firearm, and a federal background check of you for the ammunition.

So, yeah. If you needed a firearm BEFORE the shutdown, you will have to be at the gun shop, right now, to obtain possession of it.


You can’t support the right to bear arms and also support the direct violation of the first amendment at the same time. It is now IMPOSSIBLE to buy a gun and we aren’t even under martial law.


No it’s not. Anyone can sell you one directly through an FFL. You just can’t do it at a brick and mortar store with open business hours to the public.


What would be the legality, in your opinion, of Rooster’s processing transfers by appointment only?


I’m not a lawyer, but I would think it would pass as much as working from home would. Keep 6 feet away from each other.

Ben Daho

Double standards. Until the crowd of “above the law” desperate morons gets sick with the virus, they won’t know what to do.

They know close quarters is how the virus is transferred. The former law enforcement officer defies the law to profit. Interesting.


Um yeah..but if you need a handful of nuts and bolts Home Depot is open all day long. A real emergency kinda store ya know.


Then fine and jail him. He knows there are consequences to breaking the law.


What I meant to say was, he should get speshal privileges.


Regardless of your stance on gun laws, if the county can legally order other businesses closed, then it can order gun stores closed. Gun stores are not exempt from the law.


They’re stocking up on guns because they’re going to be coming for our toilet paper.


Or maybe they have toilet paper and want to defend it.


That IS an essential operation for a willing citizen to maintain their right to practice their 2nd Amendment. Hardware stores are open so I can maintain my home with the necessary supplies. Why is a gun store any different if I need something that will allow me to protect and maintain my family’s life during this crisis? Just because some stupid bureaucrat or group thereof doesn’t like it? They can pound sand. This isn’t hurting or risking the public anymore than a grocery store being open or a hardware store being open.


So your logic is: If we have the right to something (guns), then stores that supply that thing should stay open.

We also have the legal right to consume alcohol. Therefore, liquor stores should stay open.

Or even more to the point: we have the right to work and earn income, therefore all of our jobs that support our families should be exempt from this law. I.E. the law is effectively nullified.


By your logic nothing should be open.


Assertion without evidence. Please, lay out my argument for me, because I don’t see how you can come to such a conclusion.


And for those of you who agree with roark, consider my actual argument:

The law requires gun stores to be closed.

Gun stores are not exempt from the law.

The gun stores should be closed.

Somehow roark goes from that to nothing should be open. Obviously the law does not require every single store to close.

Now if you want to argue that gun stores *should* be exempt, then that would be what Bob is arguing. But Bob’s argument can be applied to many businesses; in other words, there is little to distinguish the uniqueness of gun stores and why they should be exempt.

Uncle Jack

Uniqueness… except that the constitution specifically addresses guns (“shall not be infringed”). Gun ownership is unique by being a constitutional right.

There is nothing in the constitution about alcohol.

Founders knew guns needed unique protections which is why the issue is addressed and protected as a right.


Actually there were two amendments specifically about alcohol, the prohibition (and later the repeal) of its sale and transportation. It took a constitutional amendment to completely prohibit its sale in the first place.

It is well established in founding documents that rights and liberties were not limited to those enumerated in the Bill of Rights, merely that those were rights infringed in the past and concerned would be again. Many rights and liberties as important as guns (not even restricting ownership per se–merely buying one in person in a physical store) are being infringed with this law. But we do so because people will die otherwise.

Moreover, “shall not be infringed” does have limitations. This is well established by Supreme Court rulings.

But this isn’t really the argument people are fundamentally making. People really just don’t like this law to begin with and are using this particular case as a wedge against the law in its entirety–as you can see in other posts that call the law tyranny and government over reach.

Now if anyone think the virus is a hoax or nothing more than the flu, or not significant enough to warrant the current level of response, I guarantee you that you would be singing a different tune if someone you knew got this disease and needed a ventilator at the hospital.


Apparently the “law” is exempt from the Constitution.


Ah, so stay at home orders are unconstitutional (because simply ordering the closing of gun stores to the public in an emergency state is not unconstitutional as far as any Supreme Court rulings I know)? I mean, I’m willing to entertain the idea, but the obvious consequence of that is people will die in greater numbers. If that’s what we as a society prefer, then so be it.


The logic behind your argument is no one has any rights unless a third party dictates that it is so. Maybe if you want someone else to control your life you should think about Cuba.


That’s not logic. That’s an assertion/conclusion that no one has made (though philosophically the concept of rights existing at all and where they come from is a subject of worth–and I might actually agree with the idea that rights only exist because society collectively agrees they do–but neither here nor there).

If you think some premises of mine leads to that conclusion (or maybe you think that’s some unstated premise of mine?), then please lay out the syllogism and how it relates to the idea that nothing should be open instead of being intellectually lazy and uncharitable.


I suggest you look up the definition of logic


Cute. But you still refuse to post any clear formal argument. Your one sentence replies have made no sense and, as far as I can tell, are just non sequiturs. So maybe it is you who needs to look up what logic is.


Here, I’ll help you get started:

P1: Some stores are stores required to be closed by law.

P2: ?

C: All stores should be closed.

And somewhere in there is something about not having rights…(which no one actually asserted)?


Please everyone, enough about each other.


Unless something has changed several states including Ca have declared liquor stores “essential” businesses and are to remain open during this.


Interesting to hear and amusing as well.


Look it up dude if you think its funny. Im not gonna waste my time trying to convince you of the truth but here’s one example from the NY daily times.

Never mind the virus. Pass the Scotch!

New York liquor stores have been deemed “essential” outlets and will be allowed to remain open amid the coronavirus crisis, a state trade group said Friday.

“Liquor stores are considered essential,” the New York State Liquor Store Association. “We do not have to reduce our workforce.”

The group cited state regulations


I wasn’t doubting you.


Gotcha. frankly whats ok and not ok makes little sense. Money is filthy, stand 3 feet from the checker? whats the diff? Now we cant even see what a kitchen looks like where we order food if you do take out. Yum,yum!!


And so it begins. Look for a ban on cash transactions next.


To hell with fiat cash…it won’t be worth anything soon anyway. Barter and physical gold & silver will be the real currency.


I couldn’t agree with you more. In the mean time will be hell getting by.


Apparently at least two others don’t, and I’m reckoning they’re either in denial or such prospects frighten them because they have nothing of value to barter when SHTF, let alone any precious metals in their hands.


The only value any type of “money” has is it’s value to pay taxes. Fiat currencies will always have *some* value as long as the people with guns tell you to give it to them so they can best redistribute it on your behalf.

While I would love to have currency with intrinsic value, we’re stuck with debt-based, foreign-bank loaned, fiat currency until real monetary reform happens. The people who can make that happen are usually given riches to ensure it will never happen. It’s like hoping for real Tort Reform from a bunch of (mostly) non-practicing attorneys.


Interesting, considering how much local law enforcement is dependent on these gun shops.

LEOs are always in them doing business. Rangemaster in SLO also does uniform services for them and has an indoor range that I’ve seen LE people use.

Yet they are not deemed “essential” by some bureaucrat.

Weed dispensaries and liquor stores are good to go, but gun stores are forced to close as more people seriously question the ability of government to protect their lives and property in a crisis.

We won’t have “martial law” in California. We’ll only have Partial Law.

The Rodney King riots showed that the National Guard can’t even control South Central LA, let alone the entire state. Cops walked off the job after Hurricane Katrina, while government attempted weapons seizures. People aren’t willing to tolerate this government incompetence anymore, and are thus arming up.

If Mr. Mulhall is adamant about this course of action and willing to take it to the courts, he should take precautions against community spread like limiting customers on the premises, hand washing/sanitizer, etc. He should also seek some toothy legal counsel like the Second Amendment Foundation for the inevitable collision course with government.

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