New Mexico Gun Laws

Introduction

New Mexico is bordered by Arizona to the west, Colorado to the north, and Texas to the east, with corners touching Utah and Oklahoma. New Mexico has a rich history, and houses the second-highest percentage of Native Americans in the United States.  Open carry is legal in New Mexico even without a license to carry.

A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the New Mexico Constitution states:

“No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.”

[http://gunla.ws/nm1]

B. Scope of Preemption

The controlling language of the New Mexico preemption statute is set forth as follows:

“No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”

And also:

“A concealed handgun license shall not be valid on tribal land, unless authorized by the governing body of an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo.”

It is important to remember that although New Mexico has strong preemption laws, these do not apply to Indian reservations, which comprise a significant portion of New Mexico. [http://gunla.ws/nm2]

C. Reciprocal Carry

By statute, New Mexico will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes New Mexico‘s license:

“The department shall promulgate rules necessary to implement the provisions of the Concealed Handgun Carry Act.  The rules shall include: E. provision of discretionary state authority for the transfer, recognition or reciprocity of a concealed handgun license issued by another state if the issuing authority for the other state: (1) includes provisions at least as stringent as or substantially similar to the Concealed Handgun Carry Act; (2) issues a license or permit with an expiration date printed on the license or permit; (3) is available to verify the license or permit status for law enforcement purposes within three business days of a request for verification; (4) has disqualification, suspension and revocation requirements for a concealed handgun license or permit; and (5) requires that an applicant for a concealed handgun license or permit: (a) submit to a national criminal history record check; (b) not be prohibited from possessing firearms pursuant to federal or state law; and (c) satisfactorily complete a firearms safety program that covers deadly force issues, weapons care and maintenance, safe handling and storage of firearms and marksmanship.”

Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with New Mexico and some are not.  Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur.

[http://gunla.ws/nm3]

D. NFA Items

New Mexico permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law.  Hunting with suppressors is legal.

E. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

New Mexico permits anyone who may legally possess a firearm to carry it openly in a motor vehicle without a permit.  To carry a concealed weapon, the firearm must be unloaded or You must have a valid carry permit. [http://gunla.ws/nm4]

F. Self-defense Laws

New Mexico has a Castle Doctrine but it is somewhat unclear if they have a SYG law as well.  There is no duty to retreat when in Your dwelling.  You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, unlawful action against You or Your family, or the commission of a forcible felony.

[http://gunla.ws/nm5]

G. Criminal Provisions

Under New Mexico law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances:

  • Into or on premises where to do so would be in violation of state or federal law
  • On school, college, university premises
  • On the premises of a preschool
  • In a courthouse or court facility
  • On Tribal land
  • On public buses
  • Airport security zones or any Federal property
  • On private property if the owner posted signs or verbally communicates that firearms are prohibited
  • While consuming alcohol or while impaired by the use of alcohol or other substances
  • Handling it in a negligent manner
  • Discharge within 150 yards of an inhabited dwelling or building without the permission of the owner or lessee

Additionally:

  • The current law allows You to carry only one (1) concealed firearm. You can carry one (1) concealed and 50 openly – but not two (2) concealed.

For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/nm6]