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What you need to know about New Mexico Gun Laws

As far as New Mexico Gun Laws are concerned, the state has some of the most interesting gun laws you will come across. As it is a shall-issue state, only residents have the permission to carry a concealed gun but you will have to get a license first.

Other than that, if one were to compare New Mexico to other states, the gun laws in New Mexico are quite liberal. You can even legally and openly carry a gun without having a carry license for it.

In fact, if a person is from another state and has a handgun license there, they should be able to get a license in New Mexico as long as the concealed carry law matches New Mexico’s.

The gun laws are so different in New Mexico that they can be confusing, so it’s natural to be curious about certain things. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions regarding New Mexico Gun laws.

Are Guns  Allowed in Schools and Universities?

In general, the law doesn’t encourage carrying any kind of life-taking weapon on grounds of an educational institution or anywhere activities sponsored by schools are taking place- for example, on a soccer playground where children are competing. It doesn’t matter whether you have a concealed carry license in this case.

However, if you are on school grounds but have the gun inside your vehicle for protection purposes and are above 19 years of age, it’s allowed. You can also carry a gun when you are actually participating in a school program that involves explaining firearms- something that has to be approved by the school.

The penalty also changes depending on whether you carried the weapon illegally at a K-12 school, in which case it would be a fourth-degree felony, while in a university, it is written off as a misdemeanor.

Can You Carry a Newly Purchased Gun in a Cab?

If you already have a concealed carry license, of course, you can carry the weapon without having it in plain view.

However, if you just brought the weapon from a gun shop in New Mexico, and are about to get into a cab, you can carry it inside the cab as long as the cab doesn’t have a sign that says guns are not allowed and the cab driver has not explicitly asked you not to.

The gun would also have to be not loaded and without any ammunition. If these rules are followed, you can keep it in a backpack inside the cab.

What About Buses?

You absolutely cannot carry handguns on a bus. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a school bus, one for public transit, or a bus that’s been hired for personal use, guns aren’t allowed. Your concealed carry license holds no weight in this case.

What Qualifies You for a Concealed Handgun License?

For one, you have to first be a U.S. citizen along with having your residency in New Mexico, though exceptions are made if that’s where you’re stationed due to the military. You will also have to be 21 years of age and first, go through a training course on firearms.

Even if you meet all these requirements though, denial is likely to be issued if you already have a convicted felony mark on your file or have a history of violence. You would also be denied a license if you had a DUI incident recently, drug and alcohol charges, a domestic violence case, or have been prohibited from gun possession due to federal or state law.

What Kind of Gun Use is Considered Illegal According to New Mexico Laws?

Just because New Mexico allows you to openly carry guns without a license or conceal carry if you hold a license, it doesn’t mean you can use the gun as you wish.

For one, guns can’t be fired at a residence or a building that’s occupied. Nor are you allowed to shoot from a vehicle or at a vehicle. The penalties for these incidents differ in degree, depending on whether your action actually seriously injured someone.

You are also likely to face misdemeanor charges for petty crimes if you fire a gun purposefully to threaten someone’s life or cause damage to their property. You are also not allowed to fire a gun within 150 yards of a residence unless the owner has given you permission to do so.

Certain circumstances make it illegal to possess guns or other deadly weapons in New Mexico. There are usually exceptions to these laws for law enforcement or other authorized personnel.

What Happens When You Carry a Gun to a Liquor Store?

You are quietly likely to receive a fourth-degree felony charge if you take a gun to a place that has a license for selling liquor according to the gun laws in New Mexico. As such, whether it’s a liquor store, a bar, or a restaurant, you can face charges as long as the place has a liquor license.

If you possess a concealed handgun license, you do get a pass, that is, if the place has more sales depending on food rather than liquor. Unless, of course, the business has stated it won’t allow guns.

If you are found with a firearm in a licensed place to sell liquor, you could be charged with a fourth-degree felony. You can carry a concealed handgun license, but you cannot bring it into a liquor shop or restaurant that makes the majority of its income from food sales unless the business has made clear that guns are not allowed. (N.M. Stat. SS 30-7-3 (2020).

You can carry concealed and loaded firearms without a license

If you are found to be carrying a concealed firearm, loaded firearm, or any other deadly weapon in New Mexico, you could face a petty charge.

  • A valid concealed handgun permit
  • Are you in your home, on the property you own or rent?
  • You are carrying the weapon in private transport to protect yourself.

(N.M. Stat. SS 30-7-2, 2020.)

Read: What you should know about the laws in New Mexico before getting a self-defense gun

Who is eligible for a concealed handgun license?

To be eligible for a concealed handgun license, you must have completed a firearms training program and be at least 21 years of age. You also need to be a citizen of the United States and New Mexico (or stationed in the military). You will not be granted a concealed handgun license if you have been convicted or under indictment of a felony or other violent misdemeanors, have had a recent DUI, drug or domestic violence conviction, are addicted to alcohol, or illegal drugs, or are prohibited from possessing guns under any federal or state law. (N.M. Stat. SS 29-19-4 (2020).

Schools and Universities are subject to deadly weapons

Even if you hold a concealed carry permit, you can’t carry any deadly weapon on school property (including K-12 school campuses) or where school-sponsored activities take place.

  • For protection and safety, you should not be older than 19.
  • Participating in school-approved activities that involve firearms.

Carrying weapons in K-12 schools is a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico, and the penalties are more severe than for carrying weapons at universities (a petty offense). (N.M. Stat. SSSS 30-7-2, 30-7-2 (2020).

You can carry a gun while under the influence

New Mexico’s petty misdemeanor statute makes it illegal to carry a gun when you are under the influence of a narcotic or intoxicant. SS 30-7-4 (A)(2) (2020).

Deadly Weapons on Buses

Carrying a gun or any other deadly weapon on a New Mexico school bus, public transit bus or private coach for hire is a misdemeanor. (N.M. Stat. SSSS 30-7-11 (2020), 30-7-13 (2020), 30-7-15 (15 (2020).

New Mexico Prohibits Weapons Possession

It is against the law to possess a firearm in New Mexico if you are under 19 years of age. You can be:

  • Property owned by your parent, grandparent or legal guardian and under their supervision
  • Participating in a gun safety class or practicing on a shooting range
  • Legal hunting and trapping
  • These activities can be reached or returned to only if the gun has not been loaded.

The state also prohibits you from possessing any firearms or explosive weapons if you are subjected to an “extremely risk firearm protection order” (under New Mexico’s version of what is commonly known as a Red Flag Law) or protection order under New Mexico’s domestic violence laws, or if your conviction includes:

  • If you have completed your sentence or probation in the last ten years, it is a felony
  • Follow me
  • Battery against a household member
  • Criminal damage to property of household members

These prohibition violations are usually punished as misdemeanors except for illegal possession of a felon, which is itself a third-degree felony.

Switchblade is a minor offense. (N.M. Stat. SSSS 30-7-2, 30-7-8, 30-7-9, 30-7-16 and 40-17-11 (2020).

Illegal use of guns and other dangerous weapons

New Mexico makes it a crime to fire a gun at any residence or occupied building. The severity of the penalties depends on whether anyone was hurt.

Petty misdemeanor charges will be brought against you for handling or shooting a weapon in other circumstances.

  • You should not fire a gun in a manner that could endanger another person or cause damage to their property
  • You may not fire a gun within 150 feet of a home or building without permission.
  • Neglectively handling any deadly weapon in such a way as to endanger someone

It is also illegal to set off explosives. The consequences depend on your intent and the injury or damage that results.

New Mexico also increases penalties for certain crimes, including assault and battery, if they involve a gun or another deadly weapon. (N.M. Stat. SSSS 30-3-8 (N.M. Stat.)

Final Thoughts

Well, if you are carrying a gun around in New Mexico, we would suggest taking your time to learn how to use the gun correctly before you do, regardless of whether you are aiming for a concealed license or planning to open carry the gun.

It’s best that you take classes and understand what guns are actually for and what’s considered legal or illegal with regards to them.

New Mexico Gun Laws can also change so you should keep a track of the latest news regarding this. 

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