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  • Where Does New Mexico Stand in the Gun Control Debate?

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    The state of New Mexico has always been more relaxed when it comes to gun control. There are gun laws in the state that regulate sales, possession, and how these firearms may be used, but the laws are not as restrictive when compared to other states.

    In 2019, new gun laws were released that tightened the states control over firearm ownership and usage. These laws are still not as strict when compared to other states, and most lawmakers in New Mexico agree that stricter gun control is not their goal.

    It was not until July 2019 that the state required background checks for firearm purchases. Now, to purchase a firearm from a friend, store, or even a neighbor, your are required to undergo a background check. The only parties not subjected to these background checks are firearm exchanges between law enforcement members or family members. Another law going into effect in the state of New Mexico will limit firearm ownership to those who have not been convicted of domestic violence offenses. Likewise, if you have an active restraining order against you, you cannot purchase or possess a firearm until that restraining order is lifted.

    Exploring the Basics of New Mexico’s Gun Control Laws and How They May Impact You if You Purchase, Possess, or Sell Firearms in the State

    New Mexico still allows concealed carry permits. In comparison to other states, New Mexico is quite liberal, and they allow a person to even transfer their handgun from another state when they relocate here without retaking a concealed carry permit course. Furthermore, New Mexico does have an open carry that does not require a carry license, but you still need a concealed carry permit.

    The state also allows a person to carry their firearm into public places, including stores, restaurants, and even state parks.

    No Permit Required to Purchase – but You Still Need a Background Check

    In New Mexico, you do not need a purchase permit to buy your gun. Other states require that you have a permit before you purchase. That means you can purchase a gun faster in New Mexico than in other states as long as you pass the background check. The no permit requirement is limited to handguns and long guns.

    No Registration Required

    While a background check might be necessary, New Mexico does not require you to register a firearm after you purchase it. Most states require that you register all firearms that you own, and you must update that registration if you were to sell the firearm. Luckily, New Mexico does not force their residents to do so.

    The Rules for a Conceal Carry Are More Strict

    The state does impose strict rules for concealed carry. Concealed carry means that you have a firearm in your possession in public places, but it cannot be seen on you. You may have the firearm in a purse or concealed under your clothing, and without a concealed carry permit, you are breaking the law.

    If you intend to conceal carry a firearm, you must obtain a short or full-time license. Obtaining these licenses is more than just filling out an application. Instead you must pass the following steps:

    • You must pass a state criminal background check.
    • You must carry a valid driver’s license from the state of New Mexico.
    • You must show that you have passed a mental health check, performed by a physician.
    • You must complete and show proof of completion of a concealed carry safety course.
    • You must pass a fire instruction training session.
    • You must carry your permit on you at all times when you are conceal carrying.

    The only parties who are not subjected to the concealed carry laws are military members and law enforcement members.

    New Mexico has Relaxed Laws, but You Still Cannot Carry Your Firearm Just Anywhere

    While New Mexico does believe in having relaxed gun laws, you are restricted as to where you can carry a firearm, regardless of whether or not it is an open carry or concealed carry. For example, you cannot carry a firearm on to a school campus of any kind, and you cannot take a firearm into a courthouse unless the judge authorizes it before your entry.

    Penalties for Violating New Mexico’s Gun Laws Are Not as Relaxed

    The state may not have harsh gun control laws, but when you violate those relaxed laws you can face serious criminal penalties. One example is how the law allows enhanced penalties for crimes committed with a firearm. For example, you assaulted a person while carrying a firearm. Even if you had no intention of firing that firearm, you will receive an enhanced penalty for using a deadly weapon during the commission of a criminal act. In this case, you could face aggravated assault charges.

    If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime involving a deadly weapon, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The penalty along with a criminal record can change your life forever. A criminal defense attorney is your best chance of receiving a favorable outcome.

    What Are New Mexico’s Laws When It Comes to Carrying Firearms If Convicted of a Crime?

    If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, you can still carry a firearm as long as the misdemeanor offense did not involve domestic violence. If you were convicted of a domestic violence crime, even if it was a misdemeanor, you cannot own or purchase a firearm. Just like other states, New Mexico does not allow anyone convicted of a felony to carry a firearm.

    Owning a firearm is a constitutional right, but it is one that you could lose if you are convicted of the wrong crime. Protect your rights and your quality of life by speaking with a criminal defense attorney the moment you are arrested for a crime.

    The legal team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices can help you with your defense. Schedule a free case evaluation now by calling our office or requesting more information online.