Concealed Carry Permits In New Mexico Is Governed By A State Constitution
State constitutions generally govern the ability to obtain a Concealed Carry Weapons Permit, however, not all states require them. There are just a few states – like Arizona, Vermont, and Alaska – which include what’s called “constitutional carry” laws in their legal structure, and a permit is not required to carry a concealed firearm. There are other stipulations within constitutional carry, however, that demand that anyone carrying a concealed weapon identify it when in contact with any Peace Officer. Failure to do so can result in felony charges being filed. Make sure you know the laws in New Mexico.
Do you know the laws where you live in New Mexico, you may be able to take advantage of the streamlined application process that exists within “Shall Issue” states. The standard approval process usually includes a background check, one or more required classes, qualification with your firearm (safety and marksmanship), and paying the required fee. Currently, Utah, Nevada, and Florida are the easiest states to obtain a Shall Issue CCW.
While obtaining a Concealed Carry permit requires an application for most citizens, even when acquiring one, it doesn’t mean that it is free from restrictions. For instance, in New Mexico you may only be allowed to carry a revolver rather than a semi-automatic pistol, or you may only be allowed to carry a specific caliber of firearm. Additionally, you may have to undergo testing for proficiency regarding weapon safety and marksmanship, and in some instances, your CCW permissions may be limited to the county or city where the permit was issued. Where proficiency testing does occur, it usually happens on either an annual or semi-annual basis.
There are three types of Concealed Carry in States, Shall Issue, May Issue, and Constitutional Carry
Although some issuers of CCWs are not as strict as others, acquiring a CCW in New Mexico may not be an easy process. There are “Shall Issue” states and “May Issue” states, ( and Constitutional Carry which do not require any permit) and if your state happens to be a “May Issue” state, then the local authorities are generally given discretion as to whether they believe it should be issued or not. However, no matter which type of issuance your state’s laws command, you will still have to go through a lengthy application process. In most locales, this means a long application requiring extensive information, some may also require a convincing letter that provides justification for your need of a Concealed Carry permit, and possible an oral interview as well.
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New Mexico’s state 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. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”
New Mexico has state preemption of firearms laws, so local governments may not restrict the possession or use of firearms. In 1986, Article 2, Section 6 of the state constitution was amended to say, "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. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms."
New Mexico is a "shall issue" state for the concealed carry of handguns, and permits the open carry of loaded firearms. An applicant for a concealed carry permit must be a resident of New Mexico and at least 21 years of age. Each permit specifies the category and caliber of handgun that may be carried, but is also valid for a smaller caliber. The applicant must complete a state approved training course that includes at least 15 hours of classroom and firing range time, and must pass a shooting proficiency test for that category and caliber of handgun. A permit is valid for four years, but license holders must pass the shooting proficiency test every two years.
When it comes to gun control advocates in New Mexico they sometimes forget the state is largely rural state, where old Hispanic families have hunted, ranched and farmed the mountain valleys and mesas since Spanish settlers first arrived in the 1500s, efforts to restrict firearms have been viewed warily. New Mexico is a place where you can bring your gun almost anywhere. You can even carry your weapon openly in the Capitol, if you wish — one of only a few states that allow open or concealed carry in their statehouses.
New Mexico does not have a law based on the castle doctrine, per se. However, the state’s self-defense statute does not require victims to retreat when they or their property come under attack. The law, which has been on the books since 1907, is somewhat vague. Courts have held in past rulings that deadly force must be merited; in other words, a landowner cannot justifiably shoot someone merely for trespassing on his property.
New Mexico, with its Wild West history, is not known as a hotbed of anti-gun sentiment. So the fate of a new legislative proposal to close the infamous "gun show loophole," that exempts from background checks people who buy guns from "private sellers" as opposed to licensed gun dealers, may be an interesting bellwether for the fate of such legislation in Washington.
New Mexico does not require a concealed weapons permit if an individual has a similar carrying permit of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.
If a concealed weapons permit is valid, an individual will still face a few restrictions on where he/she is allowed to carry a handgun; these places include: Any federal buildings, schools, or restaurants that serve alcohol. Concealed carry laws in New Mexico are complex and detailed in regards to locations that sell alcohol. For instance, it is legal to carry concealed weapons in grocery stores or convenient stores that sell alcohol, but considered illegal if carried into a liquor store.
New Mexico law allows a person to have a concealed loaded firearm in his or her vehicle (including motorcycles and bicycles). If you are not licensed to carry concealed in this State, you may not have the weapon concealed on your person when you exit your vehicle or motorcycle.
New Mexico is an Open Carry State, meaning it is legal to carry a loaded weapon as long as it is not concealed. However, it is not legal to carry any firearm in any federal building, school, state building, or licensed liquor establishment. It is the responsibility of the person carrying the firearm to be informed as to when and where carrying is prohibited.
Pursuant to Subsection C of NMSA 1978 Section 29-19-12, any person lawfully in possession of private property may prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns on such private property by posting notice in accordance with NMSA 1978 Section 30-14-6 or by verbally notifying persons entering upon the property. Learn more about New Mexico’s CCW laws on our website, US Precision Defense