Concealed Carry In New Mexico: What to Know
New Mexico concealed carry regulations remained unchanged after the state’s Senate Public Affairs Committee voted in early 2017 to indefinitely table Senate Bill 56, a bill outlining concealed carry without a license, otherwise known as constitutional concealed carry, for those 18 and older.
For reference, according to a fiscal impact report New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee released, the Department of Public Safety processes about 12,150 applications every year, which generates about $460,000 in revenue.
A permit is required to carry a concealed, loaded firearm (or otherwise deadly weapons) in New Mexico, as per NM Stat § 30-7-2, but there are a few exceptions: on one’s residence or real property, in a private automobile, by a peace officer in accordance with law enforcement agency policies, and when the concealed weapon is unloaded. It should also be mentioned that this is an open carry state.
How to Apply for a New Mexico Concealed Handgun License
As a “shall issue” state, the New Mexico concealed handgun license will be issued if one qualifies under the state’s various requirements.
The New Mexico Concealed Handgun Carry Unit runs the statewide Concealed Handgun Carry Licensing Program, as per the New Mexico Concealed Handgun Carry Act of 2003. They are the licensing authority whom the applicant mails their application packet to when it’s completed.
A completed packet includes:
- A complete New Mexico concealed handgun license application
- The $100 fee: $44 for the background check paid to Cogent, $56 for the application fee paid to NMDPS — do not send cash
- A photocopy of the applicant’s New Mexico driver’s license or identification card
- A photocopy of an original birth certificate issued by a vital statistics or similar state agency
- The applicant’s training certificate from a firearms training course conducted by a state authorized instructor
- An electronic fingerprints background check receipt, as of January of 2014 through the New Mexico Applicant Processing Service which contracts through 3M Cogent, which provides a list of physical fingerprinting sites after registering on the organization’s website
- A health information release form
- A release of information authorization form
According to House Bill 431, the application (initial and renewal) fee and training requirement is waived for certain members of the military (current or retired), law enforcement and New Mexico Mounted Patrol applying for a concealed handgun license.
There are a few different procedures for military/mounted patrol/certain law enforcement applicants, according to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.
- The applicant must register through 3M Cogent and use a specific registration identification (available on the DPS website)
- Following registration and paying the $8.30 electronic fingerprint processing payment, these applicants will get a REG ID
- The applicant will then complete the standard 2 page CCW application
- Include photocopies of a New Mexico driver’s license or ID, the applicant’s birth certificate, military ID and DD 214 and/or orders
- Include the health information and release of information authorization forms as well as the electronic fingerprint background check receipt
- An applicant should throw in a passport photo if they don’t have a New Mexico driver’s license
A firearms training course will be required for military applicants who retired more than twenty years prior to application submission.
When it comes time to renew that four-year license 60 days before or after expiration, renewal applications will require:
- A complete two-page application
- $31 paid to NMDPS for the renewal application fee
- $44 paid to Cogent for the background check fee (both totaling to $75)
- A photocopy of a New Mexico driver’s license or ID card
- A certificate of completion of a four-hour refresher course, according to NM Stat § 29-19-6
- An electronic fingerprint background check receipt
- If applying under law enforcement status, include all documents required under NMAC 10.8.2.30/31
The training course will touch on safe methods for handling, storing and using firearms, as well how to develop skills with one. The course will include legal information about civil and criminal laws at the federal, state and local levels pertaining to purchase, ownership, transportation, use and possession of firearms, according to NM Stat § 29-19-7.
A two-hour refresher firearms training course must be taken 22 to 26 months after being issued the concealed handgun license. In general, the training course will be conducted with the largest caliber of handgun the applicant wants to be licensed to carry concealed, and this will be reflected on the license itself with a note that the license holder may carry smaller caliber handguns, but never more than one concealed handgun at any given time (although it’s legal to carry more than one firearm at a time).
There is a way to add another category or additional calibers of handguns to one’s permit once it’s issued, according to New Mexico Administrative Code 10.8.2.18, which is listed in the New Mexico Concealed Handgun Carry Act. They will need to file a renewal application and include a certified copy of a certificate of completion from a state-approved instructor “stating that the licensee has demonstrated competency on a firing range for each additional category and caliber of handgun.” The classroom portion won’t be needed.
In addition to that, they’ll need to include their current license and a $5 processing fee. The updated license will have the same expiration as the prior license. A new license will be issued within 10 days of receipt of the application.
Generally, a concealed handgun license shall be issued if the applicant qualifies under a number of criteria under NM Stat § 29-19-14, which relate to being 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, a New Mexico resident or stationed in New Mexico, not being a fugitive from justice, not having felony charges, not being adjudicated as mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution, not being addicted to alcohol or controlled substances, and other applicable measures such as federal restrictions.
The licensing authority in this state will immediately deny a license under four criteria:
- Misdemeanor offenses of crimes of violence within 10 years prior of submitting the application
- Misdemeanor offenses for possession or abuse of controlled substances within 10 years of submitting the application
- Misdemeanor offenses of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs within five years of applying for the handgun license
- Misdemeanor offenses involving assault, battery or battery against a household member
The DPS has thirty days to either issue a license or deny the applicant after receiving a completed application and completing a background investigation, but it could take up to 90 days to complete a background check, according to the Department of Public Safety.
According to data published in 2015 by the Department of Public Safety, about 2.7 percent of the approximately 1.5 million New Mexicans over the age of 20 years old had an active license during the previous year.
Although it’s not required to have the license while in a vehicle (including a motorcycle and bicycle), it’s required once the individual gets out of the vehicle. There are other location restrictions throughout the state, however, that bar firearms no matter what.
New Mexico Gun Laws Restrict Firearms in Specific Locations
New Mexico gun laws are shifting, much like any other state, but there are currently firm restrictions on where firearms may not be carried, openly or concealed.
Because proposed legislation is always changing, this living document is neither formal legal advice nor an exhaustive source for every aspect of firearms within this state. Be sure to check out the licensing authority’s regulations for specific concerns.
As it stands, the DPS has a list of all these locations, which are:
- Schools, except in a vehicle if one is older than 19
- University premises, except in a vehicle if one is older than 19
- Federal, state, county, municipal and tribal courts without the consent of the presiding judge
- Tribal land, unless otherwise authorized by the governing body of the tribe or pueblo
- Public buses
- Airport security zones
- Federal properties such as military bases, courthouses, etc.
- On private property where the owner has verbally notified persons entering the property or if the owner has posted signage in accordance to NMSA 1978 Section 30-14-6 stating visitors may not carry, pursuant Subsection C of NMSA 1978 Section 29-19-12
There are restrictions on firearms in certain locations that sell alcohol. According to NMSA Section 30-7-3, it’s OK for a license holder to carry in a licensed liquor establishment as long as they do not sell alcohol for consumption on the premises. Furthermore, it’s OK to carry in a restaurant that sells beer or wine, given that it generates no less than 60 percent of its annual gross receipts from sale of food consumption on the premises.
According to NMSA 1978 Section 30-7-4 and terms and conditions of the license, it’s illegal to carry concealed while impaired by alcohol, controlled substances, over-the-counter medication and prescribed medication.
Another important “location” consideration is New Mexico’s reciprocity standards, agreements and recognition.
New Mexico Concealed Carry Reciprocity
New Mexico concealed carry reciprocity varies just like any other state. Agreements can change because of legislative action, so before traveling with a CCW research a CCW reciprocity map.
As it stands, New Mexico recognizes concealed carry permits from 24 different states, and 24 states recognize New Mexico’s concealed carry permit.
Again, consider that traveling with a concealed weapon in a motor vehicle does not require a concealed handgun license, so if one is traveling through New Mexico, they should be fine if they do not leave the vehicle with the weapon.
Though this is only tangentially related, one may transfer their out-of-state license to New Mexico, provided they follow the standards and procedure set forth in New Mexico Administrative Code 10.8.2.17 (B).
The out-of-state license holder seeking to transfer their license to New Mexico should submit a New Mexico renewal application and show that their state’s license meets or exceeds the requirements New Mexico requires of its own resident applicants.
Applicants should include proof of citizenship, residency, age and a photocopy of the license being transferred. They will need to complete a refresher firearms training course if their state’s license training requirements meet or exceed New Mexico’s requirements and if they had completed the training within a year of attempting to transfer the license. If those training standards are not similar to New Mexico’s training requirements or if they had completed their training more than a year from applying for the transferal, then the applicant will need to complete an initial New Mexico firearms training course.
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.