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Can You Carry Firearms in Licensed Liquor Establishments in New Mexico?

Many of you over the past week or so have been asking us to clarify some legal aspects of open carry vs. concealed carry as it pertains to licensed liquor establishments within our state.  

If you are among the thousands who have received our concealed training, then this should be old news to you. However, there are those in our community as well as around the state that do not have a clear understanding of the law. Below is the law as written in New Mexico statutes


30-7-3. Unlawful carrying of a firearm in licensed liquor establishments.  
  1. Unlawful carrying of a firearm in an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages consists of carrying a loaded or unloaded firearm on any premises licensed by the regulation and licensing department for the dispensing of alcoholic beverages except:
(1)   by a law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of the officer's duties;
(2)   by a law enforcement officer who is certified pursuant to the Law Enforcement Training Act [29-7-1 NMSA 1978] acting in accordance with the policies of the officer's law enforcement agency;
(3)   by the owner, lessee, tenant or operator of the licensed premises or the owner's, lessee's, tenant's or operator's agents, including privately employed security personnel during the performance of their duties;
(4)   by a person carrying a concealed handgun who is in possession of a valid concealed handgun license for that gun pursuant to the Concealed Handgun Carry Act [29-19-1 NMSA 1978] on the premises of:
(a)   a licensed establishment that does not sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises; or
(b)   a restaurant licensed to sell only beer and wine that derives no less than sixty percent of its annual gross receipts from the sale of food for consumption on the premises, unless the restaurant has a sign posted, in a conspicuous location at each public entrance, prohibiting the carrying of firearms, or the person is verbally instructed by the owner or manager that the carrying of a firearm is not permitted in the restaurant;
(5)   by a person in that area of the licensed premises usually and primarily rented on a daily or  short-term basis for sleeping or residential occupancy, including hotel or motel rooms;
(6)   by a person on that area of a licensed premises primarily used for vehicular traffic or parking; or
(7)   for the purpose of temporary display, provided that the firearm is:
(a)   made completely inoperative before it is carried onto the licensed premises and remains inoperative while it is on the licensed premises; and
(b)   under the control of the licensee or an agent of the licensee while the firearm is on the licensed premises.
  1. Whoever commits unlawful carrying of a firearm in an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages is guilty of a fourth degree felony.
History: 1953 Comp., § 40A-7-2.1, enacted by Laws 1975, ch. 149, § 1; 1977, ch. 160, § 1; 1999, ch. 156, § 1; 2007, ch. 158, § 1; 2010, ch. 106, § 1.

Basically, it is illegal to enter any establishment that serves or sells alcohol while openly carrying a firearm regardless of any published markings at the establishment. Remember your license is for you to conceal carry not open carry.If the establishment only sells alcohol for off premise consumption the following applies.

You may enter the establishment if:

  • The establishment has no postings restricting carrying firearms on the premises

  • You are carrying your handgun concealed with your license in possession.


  • If the establishment is licensed to serve only beer or wine the following applies. You may enter the establishment if:

    • The establishment has no postings restricting carrying firearms on the premises

    • You are carrying your handgun concealed with your license in possession.
    • You DO NOT consume alcohol


    If the establishment has a full liquor license ie. It serves hard alcohol then the following apples:

    You may not ever enter with any firearm.

    We do not promote open carry unless you are on your own property, hunting or hiking in the wilderness and out of the public’s eye. It’s our opinion that you should always assume that your potential aggressors are bigger, stronger, faster and more willing to do you harm than you may be prepared to handle.  Here’s a thought… don’t play poker with your cards turned around!!  Why would you give up the advantage of having the element of surprise? It may be a small advantage but in a 3 to 5 second window it could make all the difference in the outcome.  At least now your aggressor has to wonder, “Well, I don’t know if he’s carrying or not?” Although a visible gun may discourage some attackers, it may make you the attacker’s first target.  If the criminal element doesn’t respect a uniformed law enforcement officer with everything they carry… baton, gun, taser, and radio, they won’t respect you with just your gun.  

    Now, you may or may not agree with our thoughts on open versus concealed carry, but we can tell you this; we have seen thousands of students pass through our classroom and some have had to use their firearm to defend their lives.  Many agree the quiet professional approach we bring to our students is recommended and has not only helped them feel confident but also successful when engaged with a lethal force encounter.