Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Ruling not expected to invalidate NM gun laws

gov. Susana Martinez, seen in a YouTube video, requalifies for her concealed carry license in 2011, reportedly scoring 100% with both .45 and .38 caliber handguns.

SANTA FE — The US Supreme Court ruling striking down a New York firearms law isn’t likely to have an immediate impact in New Mexico.

Unlike New York, New Mexico is a “shall issue” state — meaning the state Department of Public Safety is required by law to grant a license to carry a concealed handgun if the applicant meets basic qualifications.

The state doesn’t require “an additional showing of need” to obtain a permit, State Attorney General Hector Balderas said.

The ruling, he said, doesn’t appear to affect the state’s red-flag law either.

Zac Fort, board president of the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association, an advocacy group for gun owners, said the ruling is a good one.

But gun owners, he said, shouldn’t expect any immediate changes in New Mexico.

“Your rights don’t stop when you step outside the door,” Fort said. “This opinion formalizes that.”

Democratic state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, an Albuquerque attorney and retired law professor, said New Mexico’s gun regulations remain on solid legal ground.

The new ruling, however, might have indirect effects, she said.

“The opinion is confusing,” Sedillo Lopez said, “and when you have confusing opinions, that encourages litigation, unfortunately.”

In New Mexico, individuals with a permit can carry a concealed handgun, with some exceptions, such as the ban on weapons inside a courthouse. It’s also illegal to carry a concealed handgun while consuming alcohol.

Granting a license is required if the applicant meets basic requirements. The individual must, for example, be 21 or older, take a firearms training course and have no felony convictions.

Licenses cannot be granted to anyone with a recent conviction for DWI, drug possession or domestic violence.

New Mexico is also an “open carry” state, meaning people are generally allowed to carry a loaded weapon that isn’t concealed.

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