Can You Shoot on Your Property in New Mexico?

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Do you enjoy recreational gun shooting or target shooting? Your home is one of the best places you can enjoy this great adrenaline-packed sport.

Although New Mexico has a variety of gun ranges that are open to the public, target shooting on your property is more convenient and saves money. You avoid traveling to the shooting facility and you can enjoy target shooting with your entire family without any restrictions.

Can You Shoot on Your Property in New Mexico?

Yes, you can shoot on your property in New Mexico. To legally shoot in a private property, you need to seek permission from the property owner, be the owner, or the lessee of the property.

In addition, firearms should not be discharged within 150 yards of an inhabited building or residence. You should also handle firearms carefully because it is illegal to use or carelessly handle guns and put other people at risk of harm.

A man sighting in a rifle.

New Mexico Gun Laws

New Mexico is one of the states that have some of the least restrictive gun laws in the United States. New Mexico is part of the intermountain West and has a strong gun culture that is reflected in their constitution and their gun laws.

Since it is an open-carry state, it simply means that it is legal for adults in New Mexico to openly carry firearms and other deadly weapons in public even without a license. However, to carry a concealed and loaded gun, you need a license from the state.

Eligibility for a Concealed Handgun License

To qualify for a concealed handgun license in New Mexico State, you must be above 21 years old, a United States citizen, and a resident of New Mexico or in the military stationed there. In addition, you must have completed your firearms training course.

You can be denied a license if you have been convicted of a crime or some violent misdemeanors, or are under indictment, have a current DUI, domestic violence charge, or drug conviction. Furthermore, those who are addicted to illegal drugs or alcohol are also prohibited from gun possession under state and federal law.

A man holding a revolver

New Mexico’s Prohibitions on Firearm Possession and Use

In New Mexico, it is against the law for individuals who are less than 19 years old to own a handgun. However, exceptions include when you are:

  • Attending any gun safety course
  • Practicing gun shooting at a gun range
  • On a property that is controlled by your parents, legal guardian, grandparents, or you are under an adult’s supervision
  • Legally trapping or hunting
  • Traveling to or from hunting activities with an unloaded gun

The state also prohibits the possession of firearms or explosive weapons for individuals who are bound by an “extreme risk firearm protection order” (red flag law) or a protection order under the domestic violence laws. Additionally, those who have been convicted of some crimes are not allowed to own or use firearms for instance:

  • Stalking
  • Battery against a family member
  • Criminal damage to family member’s property
  • A felon who has completed their sentence or probation within the last 10 years

If you violate any of these prohibitions while shooting on your property in New Mexico State, then your mistakes will be punished as misdemeanors. However, illegal possession of firearms or deadly weapons by a felon is considered a third-degree felony and carries a heftier sentence or punishment.

A man with black sunglasses and silenced gun

Steps You Should Consider to Legally Shoot on Your Land in New Mexico

When target shooting in your residential property in New Mexico, you must ensure that you use approved targets such as paper targets, cardboard targets, or clay pigeons. You should avoid exploding targets for safety reasons and fire concerns.

You should also have a bullet-proof and safe backstop to prevent bullets from staying and causing harm to people or damage to property. You must ensure that your targets are not attached to structures or vegetation like log decks, fences, water tanks, trees, or slash piles.

Proper and safe gun handling should be practiced at all times. You should always treat every gun as though it is loaded and never allow the muzzle of your gun to point at anything that you do not intend on shooting on your property.

It is best to always keep your fingers off the trigger until your eyes are on the target and you want to shoot. You should also avoid drinking alcohol when shooting and be sure of the targets and whatever is beyond your target. In general, remember the basics of firearm safety.


Although New Mexico has some of the most laidback laws with regards to firearm possession and use, you must ensure that you are within the legal boundaries when shooting on your property in the state.

This is crucial because a criminal conviction or gun-related felony carries serious punishment and will affect your future.

This is why you should keep up with the changing gun laws in New Mexico to ensure that you do not break the law as you enjoy target shooting and teaching gun safety with your kids or family within your residential property.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.