Gun Rights FAQ
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Lisa Torraco Answers Common Gun Law Questions

Albuquerque criminal defense attorney Lisa Torraco, founder of Lisa Torraco Law, is a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment. A gun owner herself and a member of the NRA, she defends the right to lawful firearms ownership.

Many well-intentioned people find themselves facing weapons charges due to New Mexico’s complicated gun laws. The interplay of state and federal laws on gun ownership can further the confusion. On this page, Ms. Torraco, who worked for commonsense criminal justice reform as a New Mexico State Senator between 2013 and 2017, answers some of the most common gun law questions heard at her offices.

If you are facing a legal issue related to your use, storage or carrying of a firearm, don’t delay – call Ms. Torraco at 505-244-0530, or send her an email to set up an initial case consultation. She works with clients in Albuquerque and across the state of New Mexico.

Who is prohibited from owning a firearm in New Mexico?

Federal law generally bars persons convicted of felonies or certain domestic violence misdemeanors from gun ownership. At the state level, New Mexico has made it illegal for a convicted felon to own a gun for 10 years after the completion of their sentence or their probation related to a gun charge. The state also bars persons under age 19 from knowingly owning or transporting a handgun.

Where can I lawfully carry a gun in New Mexico?

Before addressing the question of legal carrying, it is important to know whether you have a concealed handgun carry (CHC) permit. CHC permit holders may legally carry their weapon in several places – including polling places, churches, hospitals and churches – that non-CHC gun owners cannot. Some properties, including many schools, the U.S. Post Office, and court houses, do not allow visitors to carry guns at all. A more comprehensive list of lawful carry scenarios is available on the resources page.

Are there any state laws I have to follow related to gun storage?

Currently, New Mexico has no laws pertaining to safe gun storage. However, in recent sessions of the New Mexico Legislature, bills have been proposed that would require gun owners to store weapons in a way that prevents minor children from accessing them.

When is using a weapon not a crime?

As a general rule, it is illegal to shoot someone. The state considers this a use of deadly force to create great bodily harm. By definition, this means causing injuries that have a high likelihood of causing disfigurement, serious injury or death. However, if done under a particular set of circumstances (e.g., self-defense, defense of others, etc.), the law states a person is privileged to use deadly force against another. This is a concept known as legal justification.

How serious is my firearms charge?

The severity of New Mexico gun laws is based on a number of factors, including how and where the weapon is used or brandished. For example, carrying a deadly weapon onto a school campus, into a liquor store or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal, but may only result in a misdemeanor. Discharging or brandishing a weapon in these situations is far more serious. A more detailed explanation of New Mexico’s categorization of gun crimes is available on the Resources page on this website.