Last Updated: August 6, 2017
Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.
With so many different gun laws across the country, keeping track of the laws on carrying concealed can get complicated.
Fortunately, getting a CCW permit in New Mexico is a pretty straightforward process, so you can be on your way to defending your freedom in no time!
This guide will go over everything you need to know on how to get a carry permit, and what you can do with it once you get one.
Why Get a Permit
In New Mexico, open carry is allowed without a permit, but concealed carry does require a permit (known as a concealed handgun carry license), unless you are on your own property or in your own vehicle.
Living in a shall-issue state, New Mexico residents don’t have to worry, because as long as you fill out the application correctly and meet all the requirements, you will be issued your very own concealed handgun carry license (CHC) to carry concealed (almost) everywhere you go!
Qualifying for the CHC
There are a couple basic requirements in order to get a CHC you’ll want to make sure of before you send your application off to the Department of Public Safety.
To qualify for a CHC, you must:
- Be a US citizen;
- Be a resident of New Mexico;
- Be 21 or older; and
- Have completed an approved firearms training course for the category and caliber of handgun that you plan on carrying concealed.
It’s important to note that your CHC is only good for the category and caliber of handgun you plan to carry. You can always carry a smaller caliber than what you are licensed for, but never larger. Because of that, you’ll need to be careful when taking your training course, and register for the largest caliber you ever plan on carrying.
Even more importantly, you are only allowed to carry one concealed handgun at a time. That means you’ll probably want to carry the largest caliber you are comfortable with, and if you change your mind later, you can always go down to a smaller caliber. If you only register with a smaller caliber and change your mind later, you’ll have to apply for an entirely new CHC.
Train Like You Fight
The training course itself has specific requirements, including classroom and range instruction, and an actual demonstration that you have to do to show your ability to safely use a handgun. At minimum, you must demonstrate your ability to use a .32 caliber handgun. None of that .22 nonsense.
The course must also be at least 15 hours long, with instructions on:
- The safe handling of single and double action revolvers and semi-automatic handguns;
- Safe storage of handguns and child safety;
- Safe handgun shooting fundamentals;
- Live shooting of a handgun on a firing range;
- Identification of ways to develop and maintain handgun shooting skills;
- Federal, state, and local criminal and civil laws relating to the purchase, ownership, transport, use, and possession of handguns;
- Techniques for avoiding criminal attacks and how to control a violent confrontation; and
- Techniques for nonviolent dispute resolution.
Any New Mexico-specific course taught by an NRA-approved instructor should meet all these requirements, but you’ll want to double check with the instructor to be sure they are approved by the New Mexico DPS so it meets the requirements of the CHC application.
If You’re a Non-Resident
Even if you aren’t a resident of New Mexico, if you are a member of the armed forces with a permanent duty station in New Mexico or are a dependent of a member who is, you can still qualify as a “resident” in the eyes of the DPS. If you don’t fall into any of those categories though, you’ll have to get your non-resident CCW permit somewhere else. Maybe Arizona?
Even if you meet all the requirements and finish the training course, there are still situations that would prevent you from getting a CHC.
You will be denied a CHC if you:
- Are a fugitive from justice;
- Have been convicted of a felony;
- Are currently under indictment for a felony criminal offense;
- Are prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm;
- Have been adjudicated mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution;
- Are addicted to alcohol or controlled substances
- Have been convicted of, pled guilty to, or entered a plea of non contendere to a misdemeanor involving a crime of violence in the last 10 years;
- Have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs in the last 5 years;
- Have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving the possession or abuse of a controlled substance in the last 10 years; or
- Have been convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving assault, battery, or battery against a household member.
The Waiting Game
Once you’ve made sure you met all the requirements and sent in the other required documents (fingerprints, photos, etc.), you’ll need to wait about 30 days for the DPS to get back to you.
If you did everything right, you’ll get a shiny new CHC in the mail. If not, you’ll get a denial letter telling you why you were denied, and how you can appeal the decision.
After your CHC is issued, you’ll have to remember to take a 2-hour refresher course between 22 to 26 months from that date and submit it to the DPS. When you reach the 4 year mark, you’ll have to renew your CHC completely. Gotta keep your skills sharp!
Where Are You Going?
For those of you who already went through our New Mexico gun laws section, you know that even with open carry allowed throughout the state, there are some places where you still cannot bring your firearms. Carrying concealed is no different.
Carrying of firearms, either openly or concealed, is not allowed in:
- K-12 schools;
- State and federal courthouses;
- State colleges and university campuses;
- On public transportation (trains, buses, etc.);
- Private property where the owners prohibit firearms;
- Secure areas of airports; or
- Any establishment that serves alcohol for consumption on the premises (i.e. a bar).
If you ever find yourself going to any of these places, you can always lock your gun away in a car safe hidden out of sight to have it waiting when you get back.
Getting a CHC doesn’t just let you carry concealed while going about your daily business at home. Your New Mexico CHC is also recognized in about half of the states in the US.
A New Mexico CHC is recognized in:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
New Mexico also recognizes CCW permits from other states as well! Every state that recognizes a New Mexico CHC has its CCW permit recognized by New Mexico as well, so you can look back at that list above to find out if your permit is good to go on your next vacation!
That’s it! All you need to know about getting a CHC from New Mexico! Take a look at our recommendations for concealed holsters if you’re looking to put that new permit to good use, and don’t forget about CCW insurance, too!
And if you haven’t yet, go check out our New Mexico gun laws section and brush up on your knowledge!