New Mexico Gun Laws

Gun Laws in New Mexico

The state of New Mexico has many laws in regards to firearms and how they are to be legally used. This includes those outlines in Statutes Chapter Thirty, Article Seven, named Weapons and Explosives.

New Mexico LawsRather than govern firearms through local governments, New Mexico has set state laws that disallow local governments from restricting firearm use and possession. Before 1986 this state had a law that did not allow concealed weapons. After an alteration, New Mexico now allows citizens to carry concealed weapons with legal permits. Since New Mexico is one of the “shall issue” states, loaded firearms are allowed to be carried when a permit has been issued.

To apply for a permit an individual must be over the age of twenty-one and be a New Mexico resident. These permits state which concealed weapon is to be carried and of which caliber. Once a certain caliber is validated, all lesser calibers may be carried without other permits.

A training course must be passed and a minimum of fifteen hours must be spent at the firing range and in the classroom to prove gun proficiency for each caliber. Each of these permits lasts four years, however a proficiency test must be renewed every two years.

Despite the issuance of permits, firearms are illegal inside public schools, federal buildings, and restaurants with liquor licenses. Permit holders may carry a loaded concealed weapon into a store that sells liquor if the alcohol is to be consumed elsewhere.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Unlike other states New Mexico allows the concealed weapons permits of other states to be valid inside New Mexico’s borders. These include the states of:

Wyoming, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Dakota, North Carolina, Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Delaware, Colorado, Arizona, and Alaska.

Along with the “shall issue” stance, New Mexico also has an “extended domain” stance. Extended domain states that a motor vehicle is a legal place to contain a firearm–concealed or openly–and is an extension of an individual’s home. Firearms then are lawful to be carried inside vehicles without certain permits, but if an individual leaves his or her home or vehicle, the weapon must be concealed–loaded or unloaded. Unloaded firearms can be carried into most establishments, unless otherwise stated or if there is alcohol on the premises.

Other Weapons

New Mexico does not require that firearm owners be licensed to own handguns, shotguns, or rifles. Law also states that rifles, handguns, and shotguns do not need to be registered nor are permits needed to purchase these kinds of firearms. Permits are also not necessary to carry shotguns and rifles.

Firearms can be purchased from other states that have the same firearms laws as New Mexico. The law also states that those who have been convicted of felonies may not transport, receive, or possess any kind of firearm. These rights may be restored after a ten-year waiting period has passed since the sentence’s completion, if a sentence was deferred, or if the individual was later pardoned for the offense.

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


  • 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.

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