In some states, municipal and county governments have lawful authority to impose additional regulations on an individual’s right to bear arms and defend themselves. However, Article II, § 6 of the New Mexico State Constitution reads, in pertinent part:
“No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”
This is what is commonly referred to as a “Preemption Clause.” Specifically, the clause prohibits municipalities or county-level governments from creating regulations relating to the right to keep and bear arms. Therefore, New Mexico state law is controlling when it comes to laws regulating the right to bear arms.
That said, the City of Albuquerque has attempted to pass ordinances regulating firearms and has even passed a resolution to urge the state legislature to adopt “Red Flag Laws.” Furthermore, the City of Albuquerque has made it illegal to possess, sell, lend, give away, or purchase any form of metallic knuckles, any form of bludgeon, or any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife or which opens or falls or is ejected into position by the force of gravity or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement. Albq. Ord. § 12-2-10.
Albuquerque has also successfully passed some laws related to firearms. These laws are all at various stages of being challenged as violations to the State Constitution, but for now, the laws stand. For example, it is a violation of Albuquerque law, and considered negligent use of a weapon to:
- Discharge a weapon within the city limits without legal justification;
- Carry or have within one’s reach or immediate grasp, a deadly weapon while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or other drug;
- Endanger the safety of another or his property by handling or using a firearm or other deadly weapon in a negligent manner; or
- Sell, loan, or furnish any deadly weapon to a person with knowledge that the person is under the influence of alcohol or other drug or that the person is incompetent. Albq. Ord. § 12-2-9.
It is a violation of Albuquerque law to carry a deadly weapon concealed in a manner not readily visible on the person or in proximity thereto, so that the weapon is readily accessible for use, except:
- In the person’s residence or on real property belonging to him as owner, lessee, tenant, or licensee;
- In a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for the lawful protection of his person or property, or the person or property of another;
- By a peace officer in the lawful discharge of his duties; or
- On a target range, as authorized by law. Albq. Ord. § 12-2-8.
This ordinance does not apply to unloaded firearms. Further, Albuquerque city ordinance dictates that no person in a park shall carry or possess for the purpose of hunting, trapping, or pursuing wildlife at any time:
- Firearms of any description;
- Air rifles, spring guns, bows and arrows, slings;
- Any instrument that can be loaded with and fire blanks, cartridges; or
- Any kind of trapping device.
Shooting into park areas from beyond park boundaries is also prohibited. Albq. Ord. § 10-1-1-7.
If you have questions regarding the specific exceptions of where you can legally carry a firearm, self-defense, or the preemption clause in the New Mexico State Constitution, please contact U.S. LawShield to ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.
The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.