New Mexico: "Targeting gun laws "


November 4, 2003, 09:56 PM
from the Albuquerque Tribune gun laws

Today's author takes aim at rules on concealed carry, saying they are so stringent, even public safety officers would be hard-pressed to qualify for a license

TODAY'S BYLINE: Lisle is a board member of New Mexico Shooting Sports and a National Rifle Association Certified Pistol and Personal Protection Instructor.

Paul C. Lisle

The Department of Public Safety has finally issued the concealed carry firearm regulations - all 13 pages of them.

Our worst fears, about what DPS might come up with, have been realized. These aren't rules. These are obstacles. In effect, they make it so difficult to qualify for a concealed carry permit that I doubt few, if any, will succeed. Unless these rules are overhauled and simplified.

It was reported to me a DPS employee was overheard saying, "with these rules, no New Mexico citizen will obtain a concealed carry license." After reading the rules, I couldn't agree more.

A few of the really bad rules are:

The shooting requirements have been increased from 40 to 50 rounds.

The target, a piece of white paper, is 12 inches wide by 18 inches tall.

A license applicant is to fire 15 rounds from three yards; 20 rounds from seven yards; and 15 rounds from 15 yards.

Hits are scored at two points each and a score of 76 is required to pass.

Fifty rounds is excessive to prove handgun proficiency. In personal protection classes we teach that at seven yards, the first line of defense is escape. If a licensee shot a person at 15 yards claiming self defense, I believe DPS would arrest and prosecute the licensee.

I would also like to see any DPS officer qualify under these requirements using a short-barrel derringer that is quite popular for concealed carry. To do so would require shooting skills most of them, and most of us, don't possess.

More questionable rules:

The applicant is required to furnish to the instructor the make, model, caliber, category and serial number of every handgun that is used. Why?

The instructor must report this information to DPS whether or not the applicant passes the test. Why? This is a classic case of gun owner and gun registration.

The applicant must prove U.S. citizenship by providing a certified copy of a birth certificate. This could add significantly to the cost of the license. A notarized copy of an U.S. passport will not be accepted.

Classes for concealed carry are limited to 20 students.

The classroom must be inspected and permitted by a fire inspector.

The classroom must have 10 other specific requirements and "comply with all federal, state, and local laws relating to persons with disabilities, public health, safety, and sanitation, including restroom facilities."

When the insurance requirements are included, I don't believe any shooting range in the state will qualify, including the excellent Albuquerque City range and the highly-regarded National Rifle Association range at Raton.

An instructor would not be allowed to have a class of three or four students in his home for classroom instruction.

Nor would large, more efficient classes be allowed. Two years ago at the Zia range, we ran 140 applicants through a concealed carry class on one weekend.

It is apparent what DPS really is trying to do is increase the cost and limit the number of concealed carry licensees by limiting the class size and placing unreasonable restrictions on the facilities used for teaching.

As a final example of the harassment contained in these regulations, one section states that a peace officer may disarm a concealed carry licensee for almost any reason, and "MAY" return the gun if the licensee is not in any violation of the rules or the law.

DPS held a hearing on these rules October 15th. More than 50 people attended, representing a good cross section of the shooting sports in New Mexico.

DPS started the hearing off by announcing there would be an additional charge (in addition to the $100.00 initial charge) of $31.00 for a fingerprint check.

State Senator Shannon Robinson, D-Albuquerque and sponsor of the concealed carry law, and Tara Reilly Mica, an NRA state representative for New Mexico, were the first to speak, with Mica giving an hourlong presentation on the rules problems.

Robinson gave an excellent summation of how the rules changed the intent of the law; altered how the law was to be enforced; discouraged gun owners from getting permits; discouraged NRA instructors from becoming DPS certified; and created additional law not contained in the Concealed Carry Law passed by the Legislature. Robinson went on to say that if DPS did not correct these rules, he would have to go to Gov. Bill Richardson for help.

The next two hours of the hearing were filled with testimony from instructors, shooters and other interested parties pointing out how bad various parts of the DPS rules were.

DPS was to take our oral and written objections to their rules under advisement and issue their final rules for implementing the concealed carry law. DPS has stated the rules, whatever they turn out to finally be, will be effective on Nov. 15.

But we in the shooting sports are so unhappy with DPS that we have circulated a petition requesting the removal of the DPS secretary. He has failed to properly follow the guidance of the Legislature and the governor in the implementation to the New Mexico Concealed Handgun Carry Act of 2003.

We urge all who New Mexicans who are interested in being able to carry a concealed firearm for their own protection to carefully review the most recent copy of the concealed carry rules and to object to any that are onerous or fail to implement the intent of our elected officials.

© The Albuquerque Tribune

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November 4, 2003, 10:32 PM
15yds? That is 45ft, or roughly the distance of my back door to the road infront of my house. These people are nuts.

What states are they reciprocating?

November 4, 2003, 11:00 PM
According to, none.

November 4, 2003, 11:19 PM
The distances are the same as the Texas qualifier while the round count at each distance is different. Texas requires 70% on a full sized silhouette with a 12" 5 ring; a huge 4" and the outside line scoring 3"

I had three guys shoot the course with the sightless Seecamp .32s and all scored just over 90%.

It is highly unusual for a texas applicant to fail the shooting test but I suspect it would happen with some regularity if we were shooting at a 12x18" target instead of the txpt.

Jeff White
November 4, 2003, 11:19 PM
The shooting requirments sound a lot like an LE qualification course. We qualify at 15 yards with backup and off duty weapons. Not an impossibility with a snubbie.

I live where concealed carry for anyone but peace officers (to include political types because of the way peace officer is defined in the statute) is a pipe dream. I don't know anything about what you went through to pass the law, but it seems like it was poorly written if it gave the DPS Superintendent the power to set the rules.

Not to criticize, perhjaps it had to be that way to get passed.


November 4, 2003, 11:27 PM
The texas course I just described is a police qualification course with the New Mexico target being more difficult. The NM folks worked long and hard to get this passed and then had to fight lawsuits brought by the former mayor of abq who is a pathological antigun nut.

Some of us predicted that NM would never get such a law becaused of the deeply entrenched democratic machine bolstered by quite a large percentage of welfare voters and the california leftists living in Santa Fe. They fooled us. Getting it through the legislature was hard enough but it was only the beginning of the fight.

The requirements for insurance were proposed by Texas antigunners and thrown out. Texas DPS does not attempt to regulate fire codes, handicap accomidations (though they are part of the instructor training) or local ordinances.

Standing Wolf
November 5, 2003, 12:23 AM
Sounds a lot like the traditional leftist firearms for me, but not for thee approach.

November 5, 2003, 12:50 AM
This will be a test of Gov Bill Richardson.

I have a feeling he will come through for ya if ya let him know how you feel about this.


November 5, 2003, 12:58 AM
I could probably pass that course of fire with my carry gun(as long as I had plenty of time to line up my shots). However, for them to foist requirements like that on NM citizens who just want to protect themselves and their loved ones is plain wrong. I hope you get that Secretary removed from office and sensible rules enacted. That listing your carry guns is particularly unsettling to me.

Is there any remedy through the courts?

You said the bill's sponsor is aware of the problem, can she do anything about it?

Gray Peterson
November 5, 2003, 03:39 AM
You mean he, and he just as much said that if the DPS did what he feared they would do, he would file a bill to remove the DPS authority to collect such information.

November 5, 2003, 07:58 AM
The shooting standard may not be as hard as your DPS bureaucrats intended. This is a picture of the Texas target. The round area in the center and there are usually more than enough hits it to pass the 70% standard as long as the shooter understands how his gun works and isn't afraid of it.

Instructors have to score 90% with both Revolver and Autopistol. They arn't notably better shots than most licensees and most score 98-100%

November 5, 2003, 08:38 AM
Norman Manetta, please call you office.

November 5, 2003, 08:58 AM
A 12" x 18" piece of paper is a BIG target, so unless they're giving you only a second or two to draw and fire, the shooting requirements are, to put it bluntly, "a piece of cake."

The other requirements - de facto gun registration, birth certificate required, but a passport is unacceptable (what about naturalized citizens?) . . . these are pure bovine excrement.

Partisan Ranger
November 5, 2003, 09:43 AM they're saying that a CCW holder should be able to hit an assailent at 45 feet? :scrutiny: In my world, if a guy is 45 feet from me, he's not assailing me.

Why would NM want people to be trained to kill at 45 feet?

November 5, 2003, 09:52 AM
It's not too bad. I confronted some burglars on my property one time and it was nice to know that I could have done them up from 50 feet on in. They will probably, for safety reasons, have the shooter start from a "low ready" position rather than a holster. Two seconds for a single shot at 3 yards is the fasted time require in TX and this is a very leasurely pace when the gun is out and your eyes are already focused on the sights. The times grow longer as the range increases and most shooters-even inexperienced ones usually get off their shots in about half the time required.

They wrote the law here around a certified birth certificate but by the time it was finalized, a drivers license was all that was required.

November 5, 2003, 10:19 AM they're saying that a CCW holder should be able to hit an assailent at 45 feet? In my world, if a guy is 45 feet from me, he's not assailing me.

Why would NM want people to be trained to kill at 45 feet?

If a guy's pointing a gun at you at 45' you better be prepared to shoot back - AND HIT - because he is assaulting you - whether he's pulled the trigger yet or not! (of course avoiding that situation IMO is pretty easy except under the most unusual of circumstances - but then all it takes is once)

I regularly practice at 15 and 25 yards. If I can hit COM at that range then the close up stuff is - as one guy put it - "a piece of cake" (about once a month I test that theory at 3 and 7 just to be sure - so far I've been right).

As an aside in OK you've got to show proficiency by shooting 50 rds at 3 and 7 yards (not scored - just shoot - hell you don't even have to hit the targets). When I took my CCW training class I was appalled at how poorly most of those wanting to pack shot. There were folks missing at 3 yards for pities sake. These types are a danger to themselves and the public if they can't hit what they're shooting at at 3 freaking yds. For about a week after that I found myself seriously questioning whether or not mandatory training and demonstrated proficiency (real proficiency not the easy type proficiency that NM and OK require) should not be required. Luckily - after thinking about it for a while my libertarian bent and my belief that the 2A is an absolute guarantee of the RKBA overcame my fear of all the dufus' out there packing who literally can't hit the broad side of a barn.

November 5, 2003, 10:03 PM
I have been told that Mr. Lisle was responding to the first draft of the rules. They are now on the third draft which has been changed.

Here is some background;
I'd point to S. Wenger's article...

Quoting Wenger...

"I posted the op-ed piece about New Mexico DPS and their proposed rules at The New Mexico state page administrator responded:

This report is currently so far wrong it's not funny. That report is based
on the first draft of the rules, not the current [third] draft.
I have no idea why it took so long to report this but Paul C. Lisle's rant
is now unfounded.

No extreme classroom requirements
No Insurance requirement
No additional fee added

I could go on but it's pointless. Someone should direct Paul C. Lisle to
this site and have him read the NM News page or simply call Ray Sisneros and
ask for the contents of the third revision of the rules.

Ever wonder how people have a hard time believing what reporters say? This
is a good example.

Steve Aikens
NM Admin."

Philip back again....

I talked to my good friend Roger Finzel, US Public defender, friend and
local CCW activist, about 2 weeks ago, and opined as follows on NM's CCW
issue, which I carried water on for several years.

Keep the negotiations going and threaten to comply with the bureaucratic

For instance, if you are required to qualify with every gun you intend to
carry, OK, so do it! Make them give you a permit that lists 30 or 40 guns.
Have a couple of thousand people do it and watch while the bureaucracy

If they require the serial numbers of the guns used to qualify with to be
'recorded' then do it! Have everybody donate a gun to the cause and
everybody qualify on the SAME .38 S&W. Everybody use the same .40 Para
P-16, everyone the same 9mm M-9 Beretta.

I think you'll see the point, is that when administrators try to create a
bureaucracy to intimidate us from exercising our rights, sometimes, and not
always, the best tactic is to say, OK! and COMPLY so much that they choke!

Anyway, Paul's article was published to late to address the issue that had
already changed and in a way though, makes a good, point, namely...

Incrementalism can work at many levels, both in a legislative and
administrative environment.

OBTW, New Mexico is a Democrat state with a Democrat Governor. They passed
a good first time CCW law. John Denko, former Sante Fe Police Chief and,
IMHO, Marxist/Statist, became State DPS director. It is also my opinion
that Bill Richardson took him to the woodshed over the onerous bureaucratic
restrictions he tried to implement with his administrative power.

The final lesson here is to get the law you pass as well defined as possible
and leave as little to admin types as possible. Any administrative leeway
is simply a crack for a bureaucratic weed to take hold in.

OBTW, Paul Lisle is a good and kind man, a truly discerning gun collector
and a relentless champion of freedom.


November 5, 2003, 11:08 PM
a lot of history repeating itself here. Many of the restrictions attempted by the dps were also tried in other states. The democrats lost the governorship just before Texas passed CHL. A hold over Attorney General handed down a number of restrictive opinions as did the head of the liquor control board.- The legislature handed them their heads and gave them some busy work to remind them they they do not dictate state law.

This year, government entities at all levels lost the power to post public buildings against licensees. The texas licenses started out, amazingly, as only a defense to prosecution on the charge of carrying a handgun. It is now a powerful assertion of gun rights.

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