Wednesday, August 05, 2015

NM: Are New Mexico Gun Bans at Rest Areas Legal?

When I crossed the border into New Mexico from Arizona on I-40 this summer, I stopped at the Manuelito Visitor Center/Rest Area.  I saw the rest area rules and read them.

The line at the bottom of paragraph 2. said:


New Mexico has a strong pre-emption law, enforced by their Supreme Court.  Rest areas, according to are not a prohibited area.   From the map below, it seems that the Manuelito rest area, which is on I-40 across the border from Arizona, on the way to Gallup, is not in an Indian reservation.

The sign seems fairly new, and the visitor center was opened in May of 2008. 

Rest areas can be a dangerous place for travelers, especially single women.  In 1998, two local Arizona organizations, Brassroots and S.A.F.E., joined forces to protest the illegal signs at the Sacaton rest area near Tucson.   Within a month, Arizona DPS employees were busy removing the prohibition from Arizona rest area signs.   The bad signs at the Arizona rest stops had identical wording to the New Mexico signs in paragraph 2, where the prohibition on firearms outside of the vehicle is listed.

Arizona continues to correct the odd old/bad sign that is found in place.

Recently, Second Amendment activists fought the Alabama Department of Transportation, won the support of Governor  Bentley, and had illegal "No Weapon" signs taken down from Alabama rest areas.

The similarity of the signs makes me wonder if someone in New Mexico made a conscious decision to ban firearms in rest areas, or if they simply copied a design for rest area signs.

A quick search of the New Mexico DOT web site did not come up with any reference to rest area rules.

I contacted the NM DOT.  The person that I talked to knew that licensed concealed carry was legal in New Mexico, and that people did not need a license for open carry.    They were uncertain where the wording had come from, but agreed that it might have been something that was historical and simply continued.  They agreed to pass the query along.  I expect to hear back before too long.

Anyone who has pictures of signs at other New Mexico rest areas, please let me know so that we can document them.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

An Albuquerque city police officer told me it was illegal to bring guns and ammo into the state.

Dean Weingarten said...

Police are often ignorant about parts of the law.

The law is voluminous, and difficult for professionals to keep up with.

Wireless.Phil said...

No, not with poisonous snakes in the area.

Anonymous said...

We have to start demanding a citation of Constitutional Authority for each and every gun ban we find. A specific determination in response to a specific set of questions from the state's Attorney General Is how Wisconsin gun owners made the leaping progress they did. I submit we should all be mimicking that path because it has been proven to be quite effective.

Interesting take there - whether it was a conscious attempt to slide in a ban or whether it was just a case of laziness (copy and paste or simply stealing another rest area list). I submit that violating rights under the color of law is the same, though, whether unintentional or intentional....after all, it is THEIR responsibility to KNOW. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, right?

As for championing state preemption laws, well, I submit that they are a problem, not a solution. Think about it this way, what are they ACTUALLY preempting? The mish mash of local chicanery? Sure, I will accept that, but is that all? Nope, not hardly. They are direct affronts to the Second Amendment. Indeed, state level preemption laws are direct violations by the state of the rights enumerated specifically as left to the people ONLY (as in NOT the states in the example of tenth amendment ambiguity).

Asked, then, will the state claim the preemption law is the authority? If that be the case, then what power is the Second itself? What authority does IT have? What would be the purpose of federally enumerating a right that preexists government itself, only to relegate it to a permission controlled at the state level via "preemption" laws?

SO maybe there is a third possibility regarding how this sign and the policy it represents came to be. Maybe it is a intentional effort to keep the dog chasing the tail. That is to say, if gun owners, gun rights activists, endlessly chase specific instances like this, they aren't asking for the accountability of those placing the bait - they aren't demaning citations of authority to ban in the first place. Quite a nefarious game being played there, if one looks at it from that perspective.

These bans and mandates have been ebbing and flowing for decades. I submit it is time to rebuild the power of the Second, by admitting what it is now and has always been - a barrier to even state government rendering them unable, without authority, to ban and mandate that thing we call "carry".

Anonymous said...

As I have recommended many times everyone concerned about any gun laws needs to read the actual laws. Read and understand exactly what the second amendment says. Read and understand exactly what the tenth amendment says. read the entire bill of rights and the entire original constitution and the constitution of the sate where you live. It is not that hard and can be extremely beneficial to each individual. The tenth amendment is the most important amendment in the bill of rights. Read it very carefully. it is the strength to enforce the entire constitution and it guarantees the individual states can not alter the federal constitution in any way. Read it carefully it forbids the individual states from even addressing anything in the federal constitution It forces the states to recognize Shall Not Infringe. The individual states can not change the second amendment. All gun owners must be informed and educated on just what protection we have and demand those protections be enforced. Even the United States congress can not pass laws that infringe on the second amendment. That clearly means that the 1934 NFA is unconstitutional and it follows that the 1968 and 1986 federal gun laws are also unconstitutional. In fact the United States Supreme court can not use any other words than what are written in the second amendment to make any rulings concerning the second amendment issue. they only have the 26 written words to work with. I have held a federal fire arms license. I can tell you the BATFE is an unconstitutional agency created by congress to do the infringing for congress. The US constitution mandates all laws must originate in congress. No agency created by congress has law making authority. No business can create laws. Your rights do not disappear because you pass through a door, cross a city, county or state border. If you can prove that no one has ever been killed in a park, but you can not so anyone that enters that park has a right to self defense. You have a right to self defense no mater where you are. What is to stop someone from barging in to a court room as they have in a theater? In our local court the bailiff is so fat he could not get his gun out of his holster if he had to. What protection is that? If I can own a gun I can carry it anywhere anytime and I wont ask any one for permission.