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New Mexico Gun Laws

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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.

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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.

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E. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

New Mexico law allows a person who is not otherwise prohibited to have a concealed, loaded firearm in his/her vehicle (including motorcycles and bicycles). If You are not licensed to carry concealed in New Mexico or in a state that New Mexico recognized, You may not have the weapon concealed on Your person when you exit Your vehicle or motorcycle. [http://gunla.ws/7caj]

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F. Self-defense Laws

New Mexico has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. 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]

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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 premises of elementary school, middle school or high school
  • 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.
  • Firearms and ammunition may be stored in a locked vehicle while on a college/university campus, and may be carried while driving in a vehicle on campus, but may not be carried on foot while on campus. Exceptions exist for university-sponsored shooting events and ROTC programs. [http://gunla.ws/y19c]

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

[http://gunla.ws/nm6]

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H. Duty to Inform Officer

No. You must have your License/Permit with You at all times when You carry a concealed firearm in New Mexico. Upon demand from a LEO, You must display Your license. [http://gunla.ws/1cms]

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I. Do “No Gun Signs” Have the Force of Law?

Yes. Licensees may not carry a concealed handgun on or about their person on private property that has signs posted prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons or when verbally told so by a person lawfully in possession of the property. Failure to obey such signs or verbal warnings constitutes trespass.

[http://gunla.ws/ht2t]

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J. Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes, but only if you have a License/Permit and only into a restaurant licensed to sell only beer and wine that derives no less than 60% of its annual gross receipts from the sale of food for consumption on the premises, unless the restaurant has a sign posted that prohibits the carrying of firearms, or You are verbally instructed by the owner or manager that carrying of a firearm is not permitted in the restaurant. [http://gunla.ws/bpz7]

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K. Open Carry

Open carry is legal and common in New Mexico. Places as listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. New Mexico Code states that only a person with a valid Concealed Firearms License can carry into any establishment that dispenses alcohol. So open carry would be prohibited into any place that sells any alcohol for consumption off the premises without a valid license. This would include any store that sells alcohol, such as Walmart. The minimum age for open carry is 19. [http://gunla.ws/50rb]

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More