Gun permits becoming more common in New Mexico, especially among women


POSTED: Monday, August 11, 2014 - 6:56pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 2:02pm

The number of active concealed carry permits in New Mexico increased by about 30 percent during the past two years, according to the latest figures from the Department of Public Safety.

NewsChannel 9 obtained DPS reports that revealed 9,919 more New Mexicans were authorized to carry concealed, loaded handguns in June 2014 than in June 2012, bringing the grand total of people with active permits across the state up to 33,541.

Michael Gonzales, a firearms safety instructor in Las Cruces, N.M. who has trained hundreds of people with gun permits, attributed this increase to a broader awareness of crime and national politics.

“I think a lot of it was the Obama scare, [when] there was a shortage of guns [and] a shortage of ammunition,” said Gonzales.

“So many more people [here] were taking an interest in buying guns and getting trained with them.”

He told NewsChannel 9 he saw a “definite spike” in registration for his firearms safety courses, which are required for New Mexico residents seeking concealed carry permits.

“Last year, especially, was incredible. Non-stop, people wanting to get trained [and] people wanting to buy guys.”

Gonzales also noticed a significant increase in the number of women attending his courses during the past two years.

Across the state, the number of female residents with active concealed carry permits rose more than 60 percent since 2012, according to Tony Lynn, a Public Information Officer for the Department of Public Safety.

Nadea Hunt, a new mother who took a 15-hour training course with Gonzales and is in the process of applying for her permit, said her top priority is being able to protect herself in any situation.

“It’s not just about having a gun, for me. You don’t have to use a gun [to protect yourself]. There’s mace as well.”

The concealed carry permit Hunt is seeking allows residents to arm themselves with concealed, loaded handguns in most public and private establishments in New Mexico.

Requirements for the permit include clear background checks and completion of a 15-hour firearms safety course.

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