The Southwestern state of New Mexico has relatively liberal gun laws. Like the majority of the states in the U.S., New Mexico adopts a shall-issue policy. In this state, all license applicants who meet the criteria, as reflected by the state law, must be able to obtain a gun permit. However, unlike most states, New Mexico only issues a gun permit to their residents only.
Transferring a handgun license is also possible in the state of New Mexico. According to its gun laws, a person from another state can transfer his or her handgun license into a New Mexico license if the concealed carry laws in the other state are equivalent to its own gun laws. Within the state, it is common and legal for any person to open carry a firearm even without a license. However, a state-issued gun license must be obtained before someone can concealed carry his or her firearm within the state jurisdiction.
As a shall-issue state, the New Mexico Concealed Handgun License (CHL) is issued to residents who are at least 21 years old and are legally permitted to possess a firearm at the state level by the Department of Public Safety. In this guide, we will be discussing everything you need to know about the gun laws in the state of New Mexico, as well as the process for which you can apply for a gun permit.
New Mexico Concealed Carry License
As a shall-issue state, the requirements for a gun permit application are more lenient than other states. However, the New Mexico Concealed Handgun License (CHL) is only available for residents who are 21 years old and older. Aside from this age and residency requirements, below is the complete list of requirements that you need to meet before a gun permit is issued to you in the state of New Mexico.
- Be at least 21 years old;
- Be a citizen of the United States or a Permanent Resident Alien (although not reflected in state statutes, we have been informed by Permanent Resident Aliens that they were able to obtain their New Mexico Concealed Handgun License);
- Complete a firearms training course (military service person's discharged from military service within 20 years are exempt);
- Be a resident of New Mexico or a member of the armed forces whose permanent duty station is located in New Mexico;
- Not be a fugitive from justice;
- Not have been convicted of, or under indictment for, a felony;
- Not have been adjudicated mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution;
- Not be addicted to alcohol or controlled substances;
- Satisfactorily complete a firearms training course.
Aside from the things that you need to meet, there are also those that are prohibited. In order for a license to be issued to you, you must not have:
- Received a conditional discharge, a diversion or a deferment, or been convicted of, pled guilty to or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a misdemeanor offense involving a crime of violence within the 10-year period preceding the application;
- Been convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs within five years immediately preceding the application for a concealed handgun license;
- Been convicted within the 10-year period preceding application of a misdemeanor offense involving the possession or abuse of a controlled substance; or
- Been convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving assault, battery, or battery against a household member.
Of course, you also need to meet all federal law requirements before you can apply for a New Mexico gun permit.
If you feel like you already met the requirements laid out above, you can start applying for a gun permit in the state of New Mexico. It is important to know the state requires a firearm training course before you are allowed to apply. And while each license (including renewed licenses) has a validity of four (4) years, you need to take a 2-hour refresher firearms training course two years after the issuance of an original or renewed license.
You can follow the steps below to apply for a New Mexico Concealed Handgun License (CHL):
Complete a firearm training course if required.
Submit fingerprints. Here’s the steps for taking a valid set of fingerprint samples:
You can also choose electronic fingerprinting services as long as they are recognized by the state.
Gather the following documents:
Send your application and supporting documents to:
You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
You need to renew your New Mexico gun permit 60 days before it expires up to 60 days after the expiration date, as indicated in your license. It is important to note that once the license expires, you will not be allowed to carry a concealed handgun until the new license arrives.
Here’s the complete New Mexico Concealed Carry Permit renewal process:
Attend a class with a certified Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) instructor, including classroom time and range qualification.
Download the application.
Complete the application and gather the following documents:
· Photocopy of New Mexico Driver’s License or Identification Card;
· Certificate of Completion of Firearms Training; and
· Electronic Fingerprints or 2 fingerprint cards, if not previously supplied.
Send your application and supporting documents to:
You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
Please note that a refresher course of the firearm training needs to be taken every two years after the application of the initial permit and every two years after each renewal of the license.
The following are the fees need to be paid when applying for a New Mexico Concealed Handgun License (CHL):
Initial License Application Fee: $56.00
Initial License Fingerprint Fee: $44.00
Military Application Fee: FREE
Military Fingerprint Fee: $8.30
New Mexico Concealed Carry Handgun Laws
If you are not prohibited from possessing a firearm then the law in New Mexico allows a loaded, concealed firearm to be carried in a vehicle (includes motorcycles and bicycles) without a license to carry. When you exit the vehicle you cannot have the firearm concealed on your person, unless you have a license for that.
Open carry without a license is legal and common in New Mexico. There is full state preemption on gun laws so no local authorities can stop a person from open carry. However, you will need a license to carry in liquor stores. The places listed in our off-limits section also apply to open carry. The minimum age for a person to open carry is 19.
Must Notify Officers
There is no requirement in New Mexico to inform law enforcement you are carrying a concealed firearm. The law does require you to have your license on you at all times when you are carrying a concealed firearm and to display that license to law enforcement if requested to do so.
No gun signs enforced?
No gun signs in New Mexico have the force of law. If posted they apply to private property and licensed liquor establishments.
New Mexico is NOT a constitutional carry state.
New Mexico Gun Forms & Supporting Documentation
Purchase and Possession
A permit is not required in the state of New Mexico to purchase a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.
A permit is not required in New Mexico to possess a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. It is illegal for any individual to possess or transport a handgun if under age 19, with the following exceptions: (1) while in attendance of hunter or handgun safety training; (2) while lawfully participating in an organized target or shooting competition; (3) while lawfully hunting or trapping; (4) while engaged in or practicing for a performance through a nonprofit organization under I.R.S. Code €501(c)(3); (5) while in transit with an unloaded handgun between any of the above activities; (6) while under direct supervision of a parent, grandparent, or guardian on property owned or controlled by them.
Carrying a Firearm
It is illegal to carry a firearm loaded and concealed, with the following exceptions: 1) carrying in or on private property legally owned or leased by another individual; 2) carrying in a private motor vehicle or other conveyance, for protection of self, another person, or property; 3) carrying by any law enforcement officer in the course of his/her duties; or 4) if in possession of a valid handgun license to carry concealed by the Department of Public Safety.
A license to carry a concealed handgun shall be issued by the Department of Public Safety to an applicant who:
(1) is a United States citizen;
(2) is a New Mexico resident, or armed forces member stationed in New Mexico, or a dependent thereof;
(3) is at least 21 years old;
(4) is not a fugitive from justice;
(5) is not a convicted felon in the state of New Mexico or any other state, or in any other jurisdiction, or pursuant to U.S. law;
(6) is not under indictment for a felony committed in New Mexico, another state, or in any other jurisdiction, or pursuant to U.S. law;
(7) is not restricted from the purchase or possession of a firearm by any federal law, or any other jurisdiction; (8) has not been determined to be incompetent mentally or has not been committed to a mental health facility; (9) is not an addict of any controlled substance or alcohol, and
(10) has completed a department approved firearms training course satisfactorily, for the type and caliber of handgun for which the permit shall apply.
A license shall be denied by the department under the following circumstances: any conviction, guilty plea, discharge, deferment, diversion or plea of nolo contendere for a misdemeanor offense that involves a violent crime within the past 10 years, or any misdemeanor conviction for an offense involving driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the past five years, or a misdemeanor conviction for an offense within the past 10 years that involves possession or abuse of any controlled substance, or of a conviction of a misdemeanor offense for assault or battery of a household member.
An application to carry a handgun concealed shall be made to the department, under penalty of perjury, on a department form containing the name, address, birthdate, birthplace, social security number, physical descriptive information including height, weight, eye color, gender, hair color, driver’s license number, or other identification number issued by the state. An application must further include a statement that testifies to the fact that the applicant comprehends and is in full compliance with all requirements outlined in the Concealed Handgun Carry Act, and has received a copy of the Act, as well as a conspicuous warning stating that false information given by the applicant, or submission of false documents may be cause for denial or revocation of a license, or criminal charges for perjury.
A nonrefundable fee of $100.00 or less shall be charged for a permit to carry and must be submitted with the application, along with two sets of fingerprints, certified proof of completion of a department approved firearms safety course, two photographs of the applicant (in color), a copy of the birth certificate that is certified, or other proof of U.S. citizenship for applicants born outside of the U.S, and proof that he/she is a resident of New Mexico. The applicant may be charged a fee by the law enforcement agency that obtains his/her fingerprints.
The department shall make a determination of eligibility to carry a concealed handgun after receiving the application and supporting documents. A national criminal background check shall be conducted and all fingerprints will be forwarded to the FBI.
Within 30 days of application and the receipt of the national criminal background check, the department shall either issue the license to carry a concealed handgun or deny the license based on information that would disqualify him/her from eligibility pursuant to the Concealed Handgun Carry Act. After the 30-day time period has elapsed, the department shall suspend or revoke a license to carry concealed if it receives information that would make the applicant ineligible for a license.
All information received by the department or another agency in conjunction with an application to carry concealed shall be kept confidential, only to be disclosed to another state or local law enforcement agency, or by a court of competent jurisdiction.
No more than one concealed handgun may be carried at any given time. Unless a license is suspended or revoked, the concealed handgun license shall be valid for a period of four years. A department issued concealed carry license must include the license holder’s name, address and birthdate, as well as the category and caliber of the handgun, maximum caliber handgun that can be carried, and a statement indicating that smaller caliber handguns may be carried as well.
A color photo of the licensee shall be included in the license as well. Within 30 days of any change in permanent address or name, a licensee must notify the department. Within 10 days of a lost, stolen or destroyed license, the licensee must notify the department. In cases of a lost, stolen, or destroyed license, the current license shall be invalid and a duplicate one issued for a reasonable fee. Licensee’s must provide a notarized statement that indicates a license has been lost, stolen, or destroyed and file a police report with local authorities in cases of loss or theft. The case number shall be included in the notarized statement.
For purposes of renewal, a licensee must submit a renewal form to the department, under penalty of perjury, accompanied by a $75.00 payment, and proof of completion of a four-hour refresher firearms training course. The license shall not be renewed more than 60 days after expiration, and a criminal records check will be done prior to renewal. Persons who wish to renew the license after expiration must apply for a new license in accordance with provisions set forth in the Concealed Handgun Carry Act.
A two-hour refresher course must be taken by all licensees between 22 and 26 months of obtaining a license or renewal, and a completion certificate shall be submitted to the department no more than 30 days after completion.
Reciprocity agreements with other states that issue licenses to carry concealed shall be entered into at the discretion of the department.
If any licensee violates a provision set forth by the Concealed Handgun Carry Act, or does not satisfy the requirements for issue or renewal of a license, or provides false information on an application for renewal form, the department shall suspend, revoke or deny a license to carry a concealed handgun.
A firearms training course must include classroom instruction, range instruction, and a test of competency whereby the applicant must demonstrate competency in safe handling of a firearm. At minimum, an applicant must demonstrate the competent handling of a .32 caliber handgun. Any individual who wishes to instruct a firearms training course must file an application to become an approved firearms instructor and meet minimum standards published by the department. No individual may instruct an approved training course without having met these requirements.
In order to qualify for approval, a training course must be either certified or sponsored by: a college, federal or state law enforcement agency, a training school specifically established for firearm safety, or a national organization that offers firearms training customarily. An approved course must be at least 15 hours in length and offer instruction in: safe handling and knowledge of both single and double action revolvers, as well as semi-automatic handguns, the proper storage of handguns pertaining to child safety, safe shooting fundamentals including, live shooting of handgun on a range, methods to maintain shooting skills, laws involving the purchase, ownership, transportation, use and possession of handguns, whether federal, state, or local, techniques on dispute resolution, and how to avoid a criminal attack or a violent confrontation.
In accordance with the Concealed Handgun Carry Act, a license to carry a concealed handgun does not allow for carry into or on any premises where it is prohibited by state or federal law. It is illegal to carry a concealed handgun while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or a prescription or over-the-counter medication. No individual may carry on school grounds or any preschool premises.
A licensee must have the concealed carry handgun license in possession whenever carrying the concealed handgun on or about his/her person, and must display the license to any peace officer upon request.
No licensee may carry a concealed handgun on property owned by another individual whereby signs prohibiting carry are posted, or the owner has verbally notified him/her. A license to carry a concealed handgun is not valid on any tribal land, unless with prior permission granted by a governing body of the Indian nation, pueblo, or tribe, and in any courthouse, with the exception of individuals authorized by the presiding judge to do so.
It is legal to carry a firearm that is not loaded, or any shotgun or rifle that is loaded in a private vehicle or other mode of transportation if it is for self-protection, or the protection of another, or property.
It is illegal to carry a deadly weapon onto any school grounds, or school bus, or into a building or facility where a school function or event is held. Exempt from this prohibition are individuals over age 19 carrying a firearm in their automobile, or other mode of transportation for purposes of self defense, or defense of another or property, or for persons engaged in safety instruction, or military training, or a school program for which the carry of a deadly weapon is required.
It is illegal to carry any firearm on the premises of a university with the exception of law enforcement personnel, university security, individuals authorized to carry while engaged in an armed forces reserve training program, or hunter safety course, or a program or class authorized by the university, or while participating in another activity that requires the carry of a firearm. Any individual over 19 years old may lawfully carry a firearm onto university grounds in his/her private automobile or other vehicle for self defense, the defense of another, or his/her property.
It is illegal to carry a firearm onto a university campus, and notices to this effect shall be posted conspicuously on the premises. Any person who possesses a valid license to carry may bring a concealed handgun onto the grounds of an establishment or location that may legally sell alcohol for consumption off the premises.
Antiques & Replicas
The state of New Mexico does not post separate laws regarding antique or replicas of firearms. They shall be treated as regular firearms for purposes of possession and carrying.
It is legal to possess a machine gun that is in compliance with federal laws and statutes.
The use or operation of a sport shooting range shall not be enjoined as a nuisance on the basis of noise or noise pollution...
§ 17-8-1. Short title
This act may be cited as the “Sport Shooting Range Act”.
§ 17-8-2. Purpose of act
The purpose of the Sport Shooting Range Act is to protect the normal operation and use of sport shooting ranges by establishing when a person who owns, operates or uses a sport shooting range is liable for civil penalties.
§ 17-8-3. Definition
As used in the Sport Shooting Range Act, a “sport shooting range” is an area designed and operated for the use of rifles, shotguns or pistols as a means of silhouette, skeet, trap, black powder or other sport shooting or firearms training.
§ 17-8-4. Immunity from nuisance actions based on noise or noise pollution
A. The use or operation of a sport shooting range shall not be enjoined as a nuisance on the basis of noise or noise pollution:
(1) if the sport shooting range is in compliance with noise control statutes, rules or ordinances that apply to the range and its operation at the time that the initial operation of the range commenced;
(2) due to changes made to noise control statutes, rules or ordinances that apply to the sport shooting range and its operation, if the changes take effect after the initial operation of the range commenced; or
(3) if noise control statutes, rules or ordinances were not in effect at the time that the original operation of the sport shooting range commenced.
B. The use or operation of a sport shooting range may not be enjoined as a nuisance on the basis of noise or noise pollution by a person who acquires an interest in real property adversely affected by the normal operation and use of a sport shooting range that commenced operation prior to the time the person acquired the interest in real property.
§ 17-8-5. Local government authority
The provisions of the Sport Shooting Range Act shall not prohibit a local government from regulating the location and construction of sport shooting ranges after July 1, 2002.
§ 17-8-6. Exemptions
The provisions of the Sport Shooting Range Act do not apply:
A. to recovery for an act or omission relating to recklessness, negligence, wanton misconduct or willful misconduct in the operation or use of a sport shooting range;
B. to a nuisance action on the basis of trespass involving the operation or use of a sport shooting range;
C. to the operation or use of a sport shooting range that substantially and adversely affects public health or public safety; or
D. if there has been a substantial change in the primary use of a sport shooting range.
New Mexico Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Since the majority of the states in the United States are shall-issue states, there are 35 states that honor a New Mexico handgun license. This means that New Mexico residents who wish to carry their handguns in other states listed below, don’t need to apply for another permit and instead use their NM license.Conversely, New Mexico also honors the licenses issued by other states that were determined to have similar or equivalent gun laws as itself.
New Mexico's Reciprocity States
States that will honor a New Mexico handgun license
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Handgun licenses New Mexico will honor
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming
States that will not honor a New Mexico handgun license
California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington.
Places where you CAN'T carry
- Public schools, colleges, and universities, except in a vehicle for carriers older than 19
- Preschools and other learning centers
- Law enforcement agency facilities
- Courts, any State, County, Municipal or Tribal Court
- State wildlife management areas
- Tribal land
- Public buses and public transport vehicles
- Airport security zones
- On private property where the owner has posted signs indicating that you may not carry or if the owner tells you that you cannot
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law
Places where you CAN carry
- State and national forests
- Roadside rest areas
- All other areas except those listed as "Off Limits"
It is illegal to carelessly handle or use any firearm, placing others at risk for harm. No firearm may be discharged within 150 yards of an inhabited residence without prior permission from the owner or leasee of the property. It is further illegal to transport or possess firearms within any game refuge or fire a gun into, or within such.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who issues a New Mexico license to carry?
New Mexico Department of Public Safety issues all gun permits in the state of New Mexico.
Can I carry a handgun without a license?
Yes. But you have to carry it openly. Otherwise, you need a license to carry a concealed weapon.
How many handguns can I carry?
You can only conceal one (1) handgun at a time. Meanwhile, there is no limit on the number of firearms you can openly carry.
Is it okay to take alcohol or other intoxicating substances while carrying a handgun?
What to do if I change my address?
You need to immediately inform and notify the New Mexico Department of Public Safety whenever you change your address.
When I get my license, can I carry any handgun?
You can only carry the handgun listed in your permit.
What if I want to get a bigger handgun?
You will need to file a renewal application with a certificate of competency from an instructor for the new category of the handgun, plus a $5 fee. A new license will be issued within ten days.
New Mexico Off Limit Statues
30-7-3. - Unlawful Carrying Of a Firearm in Licensed Liquor Establishments
A. Unlawful carrying of a firearm in an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages consists of carrying a loaded or unloaded firearm on any premises licensed by the regulation and licensing department for the dispensing of alcoholic beverages except:
(1) by a law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of the officer's duties;
(2) by a law enforcement officer who is certified pursuant to the Law Enforcement Training Act [Chapter 29, Article 7 NMSA 1978] acting in accordance with the policies of the officer's law enforcement agency;
(3) by the owner, lessee, tenant or operator of the licensed premises or the owner's, lessee's, tenant's or operator's agents, including privately employed security personnel during the performance of their duties;
(4) by a person carrying a concealed handgun who is in possession of a valid concealed handgun license for that gun pursuant to the Concealed Handgun Carry Act Act [Chapter 29, Article 19 NMSA 1978]on the premises of:
(a) a licensed establishment that does not sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises; or
(b) a restaurant licensed to sell only beer and wine that derives no less than sixty percent of its annual gross receipts from the sale of food for consumption on the premises, unless the restaurant has a sign posted, in a conspicuous location at each public entrance, prohibiting the carrying of firearms, or the person is verbally instructed by the owner or manager that the carrying of a firearm is not permitted in the restaurant;
(5) by a person in that area of the licensed premises usually and primarily rented on a daily or short-
term basis for sleeping or residential occupancy, including hotel or motel rooms;
(6) by a person on that area of a licensed premises primarily used for vehicular traffic or parking; or
(7) for the purpose of temporary display, provided that the firearm is:
(a) made completely inoperative before it is carried onto the licensed premises and remains inoperative while it is on the licensed premises; and
(b) under the control of the licensee or an agent of the licensee while the firearm is on the licensed premises.
B. Whoever commits unlawful carrying of a firearm in an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages is guilty of a fourth degree felony.
History:, § 1; 1999, ch. 156, § 1; 2007, ch. 158, § 1; 2010, ch. 106, § 1.
29-19-10. - Validity of License on Tribal Land.
A concealed handgun license shall not be valid on tribal land, unless authorized by the governing body of an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo.
Laws 2003, ch. 255, § 10.