Tenth Circuit holds that 2nd Amendment does not protect right to concealed carry

On Friday, the Tenth Circuit held, in Peterson v. Martinez, that the Second Amendment does not protect a right to carry a concealed firearm. The plaintiff, a resident of Washington state, also claimed that Colorado’s concealed carry statutory scheme, which effectively prevented him from obtaining a concealed carry license because he was an out-of-state resident, violated the Constitution’s Privileges and Immunities Clause, but the Tenth Circuit rejected that claim as well.

If you are wondering whether the New Mexico Constitution provides any greater protection for a right to carry a concealed firearm, I think the answer is “no.” Article II, Section 6 provides that “No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.” (emphasis added). In my opinion, the language in italics pretty clearly means that the New Mexico Constitution does not protect a right to carry a concealed firearm.

This language does not, however, mean that concealed carry is prohibited.  The New Mexico Supreme Court held, in State ex rel. New Mexico Voices for Children, Inc. v. Denko, 2004-NMSC-011, 135 N.M. 439, 669 P.3d 458, that Article II, Section 6 does not prohibit the legislature from enacting laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons.  And indeed, the Legislature has enacted such a law.  See NMSA 1978, § 29-19-1 et seq.

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