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 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.

  1. 853 P.2d 126 (N.M. Ct. App. 1993).[]
  2. Rivera, 853 P.2d at 129.[]
  3. 669 P.2d 261, 264 (N.M. Ct. App. 1983).[]
  4. Dees, 669 P.2d at 264.[]
  5. 485 P.2d 737 (N.M. Ct. App. 1971).[]
  6. Id. at 738.[]
  7. Id.[]
  8. 484 F.2d 1324, 1327 (10th Cir. 1973).[]
  9. 2004-NMSC-11, 135 N.M. 439, 90 P.3d 458,[]
  10. Id. at ¶¶ 5-13.[]
  11. Denko, at ¶ 8.[]