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In 2019, New Mexico passed a law, effective July 1, 2019, that generally requires firearms sales to be subject to a background check.1 The law generally requires private sellers of firearms (sellers who are not licensed firearm dealers or other federal firearm licensees) to complete the sale of their firearms through a federally licensed licensed dealer, who is required to conduct a background check on prospective buyers under federal law.2

Unlike some other states that have closed the background check loophole, New Mexico’s background check requirement also only applies to “sales” of firearms, which include transfers made for a fee or other consideration but not to other instances in which a person transfers ownership of a firearm without compensation or exchange of anything of value.3

The firearm background check requirement is also subject to certain other narrow exceptions, including the sale of antique firearms4 or sales between immediate family members.5


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  1. 2019 NM SB 8.[]
  2. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-7.1.[]
  3. For the purposes of New Mexico’s firearm background check requirement, “sale” means “the sale, delivery or passing of ownership, possession or control of a firearm for a fee or other consideration, but does not include temporary possession or control of a firearm provided to a customer by the proprietor of a licensed business in the conduct of that business.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-7.1(C)(5).[]
  4. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-7.1(C)(3) (defining “firearm” to exclude “an antique firearm” within the definition of federal law, for the purposes of New Mexico law’s background check requirement).[]
  5. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-7.1(B). The law defines “immediate family member” to mean “a spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, great-grandchild, niece, nephew, first cousin, aunt or uncle.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-7.1(C)(4).[]