February 5, 2024

Anti-Sportsmen Legislation Advances in New Mexico

Article Contact: Barry Snell,

Why It Matters:  Legislation seeking to restrict the Second Amendment is often eventually used as a vector of attack for other issues affecting sportsmen and women, just as restrictions on hunting are often used as a vector of attack against Second Amendment rights. These issues are fundamentally intertwined given that firearms of every kind are routinely used in hunting, and many sportsmen and women are also avid recreational shooters. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these issues as they arise so you can have a full understanding of what may likely happen in the future and how it impacts our sporting community, even if Second Amendment issues are not your primary interest.


In the wake of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s failed attempt at banning the carrying of firearms via executive order back in October 2023, she and other New Mexico lawmakers pledged to make firearms a focal point of the 2024 legislative session. Those executive orders ignited a political firestorm that resulted in immediate lawsuits and push-back, which led to the Governor rolling those executive orders back within days of issuing them, turning her strategy towards a legislative agenda instead.

Although this year’s session of the New Mexico Legislature is supposed to be a budget-only session, the Governor still has the power to call up any issue she wishes. Unsurprisingly, with the Governor’s blessing, the New Mexico Legislature has been considering multiple firearms-related bills that would significantly impact New Mexico’s sportsmen and women.

House Bill 114, the so-called “Firearms Industry Accountability Act,” would allow the New Mexico Attorney General or a District Attorney to bring an action for injunctive relief and civil penalties against anyone in the firearms industry for alleged violations of the newly devised Firearms Industry Accountability Act, vastly increasing the liability exposure for anyone in the firearms industry when advertising legal products or conducting lawful business activities. Private causes of action are created without award limits. Constitutional concerns aside, this is problematic for sportsmen and women because the net effect of this legislation will be to destroy the firearms industry in New Mexico. That will have the downstream side effect of significantly reducing Pittman-Robertson funding, resulting in reduced wildlife management and conservation efforts.

House Bill 127 prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing or possessing any semi-automatic firearm, or any standard capacity magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, with limited exceptions. HB127 also criminalizes the sale or transfer of ownership of these firearms or magazines to anyone under 21. Law-abiding young adults who currently own these firearms and magazines could become criminals overnight and would be prohibited from using them in a wide variety of previously legal recreational and competitive shooting pursuits. As noted, the bill does have exceptions and possession of adults under 21 while hunting is one of them. However, those individuals would become criminals the instant they cease hunting.

House Bill 129 imposes an arbitrary 14-day waiting period on firearms purchases by law-abiding citizens, including concealed handgun licensees and anyone else who passes an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check. Should this pass, this would become the longest firearm purchase delay in the United States. As most people plan their hunts ahead of time, often more than two weeks in advance, sportsmen and women would be affected by this should they require a replacement of their hunting firearm(s) within 14 days before or during a hunt. Senate Bill 69 also seeks to impose the same 14-day waiting period, and sportsmen and women should oppose it for the same reasons.

House Bill 137 would ban the manufacture, sale, transfer, and possession of nearly all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, plus a significant number of handguns, that law-abiding citizens commonly own and use for hunting, competition, target shooting, or self-defense. Furthermore, HB137 restricts standard capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Numerous firearms that qualify under these arbitrary restrictions are frequently used for waterfowl, turkey, upland game, and big game hunting, plus other sporting purposes—guns like the extremely common Remington 742, Remington 1100, Winchester SX3, Beretta A390, Mossberg 930, Browning BAR, and Stoner platform rifles, just to name a few—thereby making thousands of hunters and recreational shooters across the state felons should this become law.

If you’re a New Mexican, please take a moment to contact your legislator and voice your opposition to this legislation. Stay tuned for additional updates on these efforts and how to be involved.

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