Last Updated March 15, 2011
Article II, § 6 of the Constitution of New Mexico provides:
In State v. Rivera, the Court of Appeals of New Mexico held that regulations that are reasonably related to the public health, welfare and safety do not violate article II, § 6.1 The court found that New Mexico Statutes Annotated § 30-7-4, which criminalizes negligent use of a deadly weapon, was a reasonable use of the state’s police power and did not violate the state constitution.2
Similarly, in State v. Dees, the court of appeals rejected an article II, § 6 challenge to former section 30-7-3, prohibiting the carrying of a firearm into a licensed liquor establishment.3 The court found that section 30-7-3 is “not an infringement upon the right to bear arms.”4
Conversely, in City of Las Vegas v. Moberg, the court of appeals held that a local ordinance banning the carrying of all firearms, concealed or unconcealed, violated article II, § 6.5 In Moberg, the court distinguished between laws that merely regulate the carrying of firearms, and laws that completely prohibit the carrying of firearms.6 The court stated that a law prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms is a permissible regulation of article II, § 6. The ordinance at issue, however, prohibited the carrying of all firearms and was therefore a violation of article II, § 6.7
See also United States v. Romero, in which the court stated, in dicta, that the right conferred under article II, § 6 is not absolute and is subject to reasonable regulation.8
In 2004, the Supreme Court of New Mexico interpreted the meaning of the last phrase of the first sentence of article II, § 6, which reads “nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.” In State ex rel. New Mexico Voices for Children, Inc. v. Denko, the court upheld a statute allowing license holders to carry concealed handguns (N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 29-19-1 – 29-19-13),9 rejecting the argument that the phrase prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons.10 The court held:
See Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in New Mexico for a summary for cases that have analyzed the preemptive effect of art. II, § 6.
- 853 P.2d 126 (N.M. Ct. App. 1993).
- Rivera, 853 P.2d at 129.
- 669 P.2d 261, 264 (N.M. Ct. App. 1983).
- Dees, 669 P.2d at 264.
- 485 P.2d 737 (N.M. Ct. App. 1971).
- Id. at 738.
- 484 F.2d 1324, 1327 (10th Cir. 1973).
- 2004-NMSC-11, 135 N.M. 439, 90 P.3d 458,
- Id. at ¶¶ 5-13.
- Denko, at ¶ 8.