See our Gun Dealers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.
New Mexico does not require firearms dealers to obtain a state license or otherwise significantly regulate dealers.
However, legislation enacted in 2019 generally requires firearm sales between unlicensed people (those who are not federally licensed firearm dealers) to be conducted through a licensed dealer who is required to conduct a background check.1
- Applicable to both licensed and unlicensed sellers of firearms, see the New Mexico Private Sales section;
- Governing how federally licensed firearms dealers conduct background checks on purchasers, see the New Mexico Background Checks section;
- Requiring dealers to record or report firearm sales to law enforcement, see the New Mexico Retention of Sales / Background Checks Records section.
- N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-7.1. Unlike some other states that have closed the background check loophole, however, this background check requirement applies only to “sales” of firearms, which includes transfers made for a fee or other consideration but not to other instances in which a person transfers ownership of a firearm.