New Mexico DPS mathematicians prove 30 = 90, or, "The Background Check Loophole"


May 6, 2004, 08:48 PM
Having sent in my CCW application right around the first of March, it's now more than 60 days without hearing a thing. I called the guy who taught my class and asked him if he'd heard from any other students. He said he had just talked to one other; same thing. DPS is posting press releases ( on their website, and the guy who called was given the same runaround you'll see there.

It seems DPS is exploiting a poorly-worded section in the statute ( regarding their deadline for getting these out. It reads:

"Pursuant to rules adopted by the department, the department, within thirty days after receiveng a completed application for a concealed handgun license and the results of a national criminal background check on the applicant, shall:
(1) issue a concealed handgun license to an applicant; or
(2) deny the application on the grounds that the applicant failed to qualify...."

DPS is interpreting that to mean: "within 30 days after receiving the application, and within 30 days after receiving the results of the background check". Conveniently, though, there is no deadline on performing (meaning STARTING) the background check.

So up to 8 weeks to do the background check ~= 60 days, plus the 30 to (essentially) put the damn thing in the mail = 90 days.

The guy who taught my class is former San Diego PD; the student who called is an investigator with the DA's office; both swear an NCIC check takes 45 seconds. When the student pointed that out to the lady on the phone, her reply was, "Well, we have a backlog of about 1200." By my math, even 1200 x 45 seconds = about 3 days.

So am I overreacting, or does it seem like DPS doesn't like the idea of "being forced to allow civilians to carry hidden guns" (as the antis like to put it)?

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May 6, 2004, 09:22 PM
Yeah, that would piss me off too.

You'll notice that when there's a loophole to the state's advantage, it will take it every time, but when there's one that helps Joe Average it's an outrage.

I'm so sick of hearing crap like this. :fire: I'm sorry for your misfortune.


Standing Wolf
May 6, 2004, 11:25 PM
Ask me some time why I sometimes regard cops with a jaundiced eye.

All too many cops all over the country regard our civil rights as luxuries they can dispense with.

May 6, 2004, 11:29 PM
Vegas Metro does the same thing - they have to issue them but they run you through every ringer they can. Then they have 120 days to issue it and I didn't even get it in that amount of time. They don't care - who's going to do anything to them?

May 7, 2004, 12:03 AM
As soon as someone dies from application fo lethal force waitng for a permit past the letter of the law. Then we might be able to do something.

Until then, there seems to be no way to hold the state accountable to their own rules.

May 7, 2004, 08:55 AM
Well, I think it's a reasonable reading of the statute. I wasn't happy about it, though. Fortunately, I got my permit in 28 days (I was boiling for a fight, too; thinking about trying to get a district court judge to issue a writ of mandamus if they took too long, but realizing that it would be an uphill battle), so it wasn't an issue for me.

Stinks, though.

El Tejon
May 7, 2004, 08:57 AM
Can you put on the list of things to change next session?

How hard would it be to amend the law?

Gordon Fink
May 7, 2004, 11:44 AM
[D]oes it seem like DPS doesn’t like the idea of “being forced to allow civilians to carry hidden guns” (as the antis like to put it)?

You think?

~G. Fink

Rebel Gunman HK
May 7, 2004, 11:55 AM
They got mine to me in 6 weeks, I was anticipating having to fight them for it..... Bummer dude. I'd be pissed too. Good luck.

Black Dragon
May 7, 2004, 12:04 PM
Depending on what county you live in, in Michigan, you can have the same
problem. I know two people that took their training in the same class and
sent the paper work in the same day. One got their permit in 30 days and
the other had to write to the Wayne County Gun Board to ask why they
were not following the law. To make things short, after two or three real
nice letters the man got his permit 3 months after the first person.
Loop holes are only for the state to use.

Good luck with your permit.

May 7, 2004, 12:22 PM
Ask them how they think a lawyer and a judge in lawsuit would think about their interpretation of the law.

May 7, 2004, 12:57 PM
The first time I read the New Mexico law after it passed, I was delighted to see that "any adjacent state" permit would be recognized. Since I live in Texas and travel to NM fairly often, I saw this as a good thing.

Now it appears to me that instead of honoring their own law as passed, they are finding excuses to prevent or delay the issuance of permits to NM citizens and they will not recognize the permit of any other jurisdiction.

I wonder if they could work this out if the law involved a raise for them as state employees.

May 7, 2004, 01:00 PM
Every state learns from the history of the others.

In Minnesota, the law is more specific. The clock begins counting when the sheriff receives the application packet. The sheriff then has 30 days to issue or deny.

If the sheriff does not inform the applicant of the grounds for his denial within the 30 days, he has issued the permit, and is required to deliver the permit card.

May 7, 2004, 01:21 PM
This delay was clearly not the intention of the legislature. Bring this situation to the attention of your state representatives and the state attorney general.

May 7, 2004, 01:52 PM
Thatguy -

Goooooood post.

May 7, 2004, 03:46 PM
Mute, I am a lawyer. As I said, I think they are laboring under a reasonable interpretation of the law, although I was thinking that it might be possible to bother them by applying for a writ of mandamus. The more I thought about it, the worse an idea it seemed. Fortunately, as I said, I got my permit in 28 days.

45+, present NM law does not contain any provision honoring permits from any other state. Just so you know. We're working on it.

thatguy, the reason for the delay is that the 2-man unit that's processing the apps is flat-out buried in them right now. You know, what with the law just having gone into effect and a bunch of people just having rushed to get qualified. (Not rushed as much as I did, but still.) Right now we're just in the middle of a tidal wave. The state cops will get them processed as fast as they can.

RE: contacting the legislators. The legislature is not going to mandate that the state chotas take manpower away from real copwork to fix the backlog (which is what the head cop will say would have to happen). They're also not going to cough up mas dinero to put another FTE [sorry, full time employee, not failure to extract! :D ] on the job for what's undoubtedly a temporary problem (it'll go away when the land-rush crowd gets their permits and process drops down to what will become a normal trickle of applicants).

RE: contacting the AG. Our AG (who wants to be our next governor) is not going to see any benefit in harrassing people that she generally represents in order to see that they do their job better than the law (arguably) requires. That's just a dead-flat dead end.

Tejon, the NMSSA is more concerned with 1) increasing the length of the validity of the permit (presently 2 years), 2) dropping the cost of the permit (like there are a lot of poor folks who have the $100 just for the state, let alone the training - although we have scholarships available for the training in some instances), 3) getting some reciprocity established, and 4) dropping the age requirement from 25 (probably to 21). Not necessarily in that order.

I really see this as a temporary problem while the initial rush to get permits hits the two poor cops who are assigned to check everyone out. It stinks, but it'll get better and get fixed with time. You unfortunate folks who are having to wait longer than you should WILL get your permits (I'm sure you'll all check out okay).

In the meantime, be sure not to commit the petty misdemeanor crime of unlawfully carrying w/o a permit (in those places where carry is legal with permit).

Whole Hog
May 7, 2004, 03:59 PM

Any idea how big that backlog is? I mailed my application on Tuesday and figure I'll have to wait at least six weeks.


May 7, 2004, 05:03 PM
Sorry, I don't. I have the number for the background check unit floating around somewhere at the office, but I haven't talked to them in a while. DJJ's story is the worst I've heard so far - I've known several folks to get their permits in right around 30 days.

smle, how long did it take for you? It wasn't too bad, was it?

I think DJJ is just right at exactly the biggest moment of backlog - and I hope he gets his permit in the mail soon. :( You, too, Whole Hog! :)

May 7, 2004, 05:12 PM
The same thing has been going on up in Michigan----some of the LEO's don't like "The People" having rights. Heard that it has been less of a problem the longer CCW has been in effect, though.

May 7, 2004, 06:06 PM
I got my CHL in about 33 days. So far, in all my dealings with DPS, the guys I have talked to have been very positive and helpful. When I took my application in the first time, there was a small error on my training certificate, the Officer showed me what was wrong (it was an "oops" on the part of my instructor). He then carefully went over the rest of my app. so that I would "only have to come back once". When I came back the next day with the corrected certificate, I dealt with a different officer. He too went through my application to make sure it was all in order rather than just tossing on the pile and letting me find out the hard way x number of weeks later and making me come back in to fix it.
When they got around to my background check, the Officer needed some additional info, and called me. I didn't hear the phone so he left a message. When I finally got the message and called back, he had found what he needed via the MVD database and cheerfully told me that my license was already in the mail.

I'm willing to belive that it simply a back log issue and not intentional "foot dragging" on the part of DPS.

May 8, 2004, 08:32 AM
So when are we going to have lunch? :) Maybe I should set something up at the Rallying Point for sometime in the summer - get a bunch of us together.

Randy in Arizona
May 8, 2004, 05:40 PM
New Mexico the USA's resident Third World Country!


I lived for most of the years 1960 to 1999 in either Albuquerque or the Grants area. I landed a job in Tucson in '99 and have been here ever since.

I had an Arizona Concealed Weapon Permit long before I even bought a home here.

The only thing I REALLY miss about New Mexico is the cooking. If M&J Sanitary Tortilla Factory or Los Cuates were available in the Tucson area I'd have no reason to visit New Mexico!

I do not miss the lying bast--ds in the legislature, the city council, or the press. You, however, have my profound respect and condolances for continuing to tolerate and deal with them!

Good Luck and best wishes,


May 8, 2004, 10:55 PM
I bailed from NM after living there from '80 to 2000. It can be tough to find a decent job in the "Land of Entrapment".
But when you guys start talking about M&J's and Los Cuates... Oh, man, I long for a trip to New Mexico.
I neeeeeeed some green chile. I neeeeeeed the red, too!
And (just to keep this on-topic), when they drop another blob of guacamole on my order of Mexican food here in SoCal, I want to reach for my gun.
Oh, lord! Now I'm going to be sitting here all night long JONESING for a plate of carne adovada.

Randy in Arizona
May 9, 2004, 04:42 AM
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:


I am sincerely sorry, I was drooling on the keyboard as I typed that, Too!

A Website that might help just a little:
(Or maybe just make it worse):( :(

May 9, 2004, 08:46 PM
Glad to see another THRer appreciates Chowhound! I post there on occasion.

If/when any of you gents come back, please PM me and we can hit a restaurant.

FYI, Los Cuates was sold to the Little Anitas crew last year, when Frank died. There was a clause in the sales contract that forbad the new owners from changing any of the recipes, though. (The secret to Los Cuates' wonderful salsa is tomatillos and chiles pasilla, BTW. :) ) Some of the old-time Los Cuates employees weren't happy with the new arrangement, so they jumped ship and opened their own place (called Dos Amigos) with similar recipes.

Man, now I'm wanting to talk NM food . . . don't want to go too off topic, though. Hey, here's something gun-related: Dos Amigos has no liquor license, so our permit is good in there!

May 9, 2004, 08:54 PM
Learning that Los Cuates had been sold to Little Anita's (Boooo!) nearly made me want to put a GUN to my head.
Good thing they're keeping the old recipes.
And the news that there's a respectable spin-off... well, that calls for celebratory GUNfire.

May 10, 2004, 12:16 PM
Who introduced this bill? Who worked on it? Is the NM legislative record available for searching?

The legislative intent is the key to the proper interpretation, and if the drafters and the enacters of this bill meant 30 days, not 60 or 90, then that's the key factor in a challenge to this practice.

May 10, 2004, 01:02 PM
We have no legislative history here in NM. Too bad, I do appeals, and it would be useful.

lwaldron, way to keep the thread on point! :D

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