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Know the Laws: New Mexico

UPDATED May 5, 2016

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Below is information about state gun laws in New Mexico.  A restraining order or criminal conviction may make it illegal for an abuser to have a gun.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply.  To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

Please consider getting in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. Please click on the NM Where to Find Help page to find domestic violence organizations and lawyers in your area. 

Guns and Protection Orders

back to topI have a temporary protection order against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?

Maybe, but not likely.  New Mexico law does not prohibit an abuser who has a temporary protection order against him/her from possessing a firearm.  

Under federal law, it could still be legal for him/her to have a gun if the judge gave you an ex parte temporary protection order (which means that no advance notice was given to the abuser), which is commonly done.  However, if the judge scheduled a court hearing and gave notice of the hearing to the abuser before giving you the temporary protection order, it is possible that it is illegal for him/her to have a gun under federal law.  The protective order must also meet certain other requirements, though.  Read I have a final order of protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away? (in our Federal Gun Laws section) to find out more.

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back to topI have a protection order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?

New Mexico law doesn't specifically state that a judge can prohibit the abuser from having a gun as a term in the protection order. However, the judge can order "anything necessary for your protection."* Therefore, you may be able to specifically ask the judge to include a term in your protection order that prohibits the abuser from having a gun but it will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to order it.  Also, a person is prohibited from getting a concealed handgun license in New Mexico if s/he is “prohibited by federal law” from purchasing or possessing a firearm.**  Federal law does prohibit the respondent in a qualifying protection order from having a gun - go to  the  the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.

* N.M.S.A. § 40-13-5(A)(7)
** N.M.S.A. § 29-19-4(A)(7)

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back to topIs there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a protection order?

Here are a few things that may help:

  • If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever threatened you with a gun(s);
  • Ask the judge to specifically write in your protection order that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect. The form that you will have to fill out to petition for a protection order will have a place where you can request additional protections. You can ask that the abuser’s gun(s) be taken away in that section; and
  • Before leaving the courthouse, check to make sure that the gun restriction is written on your order.

It also may be helpful if the judge explains what will happen to the abuser's guns, who will take them, and where they will be held once you leave the courthouse. If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his/her guns while the protective order is in effect, you may also want to ask that the judge:

  • Require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser's house and get them;
  • Make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser; and
  • Order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.

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