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Child Access Prevention

In 2023, New Mexico enacted a child access prevention law that makes adults criminally liable for negligently making a firearm accessible to a minor.1 A minor is defined by the law as a person under 18 years of age.2

A person commits a crime if a minor access a firearm that was kept or stored in a manner that negligently disregarded the minor’s ability to access the firearm; and the minor displays or brandishes it in a threatening manner, or causes injury to the minor or another person. Under those circumstances, the person is liable for a misdemeanor. If the minor uses the firearm in a manner that causes great bodily harm to or death of the minor or another person, the person commits a felony.

Even if a minor accesses a firearm, the gun owner has not violated the child access prevention law if the gun:

  • Was either kept in a locked container and was securely stored or kept in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure when obtained by a minor;
  • Was carried on the person or within the person’s immediate control;
  • Was locked with a firearm safety device that rendered the firearm inoperable;
  • Was accessed by the minor in the course of self-defense or defense of another person;
  • Was accessed by the minor because of an illegal entry to the person’s property; or
  • Was accessed by the minor with the authorization of the minor’s parent or guardian for lawful hunting, lawful recreational use or any other lawful purpose.

The law becomes effective in June 2023.

Safe Storage

New Mexico has no law that requires unattended firearms to be stored in a certain way.

New Mexico also does not require a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm, and no state statutes require firearm owners to affirmatively lock their weapons.


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  1. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-7.2.[]
  2. Id. at (D)(4).[]