New Hampshire Gun Laws You Need To Know in 2022
The right to keep and bear arms is recognized under the state constitution or state law of New Hampshire. A license is not required to acquire a weapon in New Hampshire. You are not needed to register your firearm either.
Who can possess a firearm in NH?
In New Hampshire, there is no minimum age for owning a weapon. Only a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian can legally transfer a gun to a minor.
If you’re a convicted felon, have been convicted of certain drug crimes, are the subject of a domestic violence protective order, such as one issued for threatening an intimate partner or stalking, are in the United States illegally, are deemed a “mental defective,” or have been involuntarily committed, you can’t buy a gun under federal law.
Mental illness and gun ownership
Anyone who “has been judged as mentally defective or has been committed to any mental institution” is prohibited from possessing a handgun under federal law. New Hampshire, on the other hand, maintains mental health information private and hence does not share them with the national database that conducts background checks.
In recent years, there have been calls to enact a “red flag law,” which would allow law officials to seize guns from those who may constitute a threat to themselves or others.
Buying a gun in NH
If you wish to purchase a firearm in NH, you must present identification.
Long firearms are only available to nonresidents who are eligible to buy them in their home state. Pistols and revolvers are prohibited from being bought over state boundaries. At the federal level, this is illegal.
Those who purchase a firearm are responsible for storing it safely. If a youngster acquires access to your handgun and uses it in “a reckless or threatening manner,” you might be punished with “negligent storage of guns.”
Selling guns in NH
If they wish to sell handguns, firearms dealers in NH must first get a license from their city or town.
Assault weapons are semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and can readily add extras such as lights and scopes. In September 2004, a federal ban on individual possession of semi-automatic rifles categorized as “assault weapons” lapsed.
The use of such weapons in high-profile mass shootings, such as the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre, has prompted gun control supporters to express their worry.
Bump stocks are a form of gun stock that allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire at a faster rate, similar to an automatic weapon. The federal government has outlawed bump stocks for most citizens starting in March 2019.
After the well known Las Vegas incident in 2017, in which the perpetrator utilized a bump stock, this alteration was implemented.
Concealed carry in New Hampshire
Unless they are in a region where weapons are particularly forbidden, anybody who may lawfully own a handgun can carry it openly or hidden without permission.
Even though a concealed carry license isn’t required in New Hampshire, you can get one if you want one. Because of “concealed carry reciprocity,” which means that some states that need such licenses will respect those from other states, this is occasionally beneficial.
Background checks and waiting periods
A waiting period is not required in New Hampshire before the purchase of a firearm may be completed. Licensed firearm dealers are required by federal law to complete a background check on anybody who buys a gun.
The New Hampshire Department of Safety conducts these checks for firearm transactions. The FBI conducts extensive background checks on firearms sales. Both checks are normally done on the spot, although they might take anything from an hour to several days to complete.
In New Hampshire, a private individual may sell a gun to another New Hampshire citizen if the seller either knows the buyer personally (and therefore has no reason to assume the person is forbidden from owning a gun) or the buyer has a New Hampshire license to carry.
Because private transactions occasionally occur at gun shows, opponents of the practice refer to it as the “gun show loophole.”
Where are guns prohibited?
A handgun is not permitted in a New Hampshire courtroom, and public school pupils are not permitted to carry firearms on school premises. Guns are prohibited in licensed child care institutions, foster homes, and prisons, according to further restrictions.
Without the authorization of the landlord, you cannot discharge a handgun within 300 feet of a continuously occupied residence.
New Hampshire Pistol License
CCW License Requirements
Applicants must be at least 18 years old and provide three references’ names and addresses, as well as their driver’s license number.
CCW License Application
To receive a permit, follow these steps: First, download the application form. Then, if you’re a non-resident, you’ll need the names of three people to serve as references, and you’ll need to fill out the application and present it to your local sheriff’s office or the State Police.
If your application is granted or declined, you will be notified by letter within 14 days.
For non-residents, the application should be mailed to the below address:
NH State Police
Permits and License Unit
33 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03305
New Hampshire Reciprocity List
States that honor a New Hampshire CCW permit
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming
New Hampshire honors these state CCW permits
For your permit to be valid in New Hampshire, you must be a resident of the state they honor.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming
States that will not accept a New Hampshire CCW permit
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Washington D.C. Wisconsin
Anyone who is at least 18 years old and can lawfully own a handgun can carry openly or concealedly in NH without a license. Although there is no minimum age to carry a handgun in California, the federal minimum age is 18.
Residents and non-residents alike are awarded Pistol/Revolver Licenses (PRLs) for reciprocity reasons. A PRL does not need fingerprints or a picture. New Hampshire law does not require applicants for a license to carry a handgun to complete gun safety training or demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety in any other way.
Due to permitless carry in New Hampshire, anyone 18 years of age or older who may lawfully own a handgun may carry a concealed firearm without a license or permit.
NH is a “stand your ground” state that follows the Castle Doctrine. A person who is legitimately present in a place or location and is threatened with bodily harm or death has no need to flee the threat before employing force.
Use of Force in Defense of Premises
When and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of criminal trespass by such other in or upon such premises, a person in possession or control of premises, or a person who is licensed or privileged to be there, is justified in using non-deadly force.
However, he or she may use deadly force in such circumstances only in self-defense or prevent the trespasser from committing arson.
Physical Force in Defense of a Person
A person is justified in using non-lethal force against another person in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the impending use of unlawful, non-lethal force, and he or she may use the degree of force that he or she reasonably believes is necessary.
If a person reasonably believes that another person is about to use unlawful, deadly force against the actor or a third person, is about to use any unlawful force against a person present while committing or attempting to commit a burglary, is committing or about to commit kidnapping or a forcible sex offense, or is likely to use any unlawful force in the commission of a felony against the actor within such actor’s dwelling, he or she is justified in using deadly force.
If the actor and the third person are in complete safety, the actor and the third person can: retreat from the encounter (except that he or she is not required to retreat if he or she is within his or her dwelling, its curtilage, or anywhere else he or she has a right to be) and the actor was not the initial aggressor; or surrender property to the person; or comply with a demand that he or she abstain from performing an act that the actor is not obligated to
“Curtilage” refers to any outbuildings that are close to, directly attached to, and intimately related to a residence, as well as all property or grounds around the dwelling that are required, handy, and routinely utilized for domestic purposes.
Any building, structure, vehicle, boat, or other location adapted for overnight lodging of people, or parts of any site thus converted, is referred to as a “dwelling.” It makes no difference whether or not someone is truly present.
The state of New Hampshire has power and jurisdiction over the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transit, licensing, permitting, taxes, and any other subject involving weapons, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state.
I. To the extent consistent with federal law, the state of New Hampshire shall have authority and jurisdiction over the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state. Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, no ordinance or regulation of a political subdivision may regulate the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state. Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting a political subdivision’s right to adopt zoning ordinances for the purpose of regulating firearms businesses in the same manner as other businesses or to take any action allowed under RSA 207:59.
II. Upon the effective date of this section, all municipal ordinances and regulations not authorized under paragraph I relative to the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearm components, ammunition, or firearms supplies shall be null and void.
No person who owns, operates, or uses a shooting range in this state shall be subject to civil liability or criminal prosecution in any matter relating to noise or noise pollution…
Notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 644:2, III(a) or any other law to the contrary, no person who owns, operates, or uses a shooting range in this state shall be subject to civil liability or criminal prosecution in any matter relating to noise or noise pollution, provided that the owners of the range are in compliance with any applicable noise control ordinances in existence at the time the range was established, was constructed, or began operations.
New Hampshire Gun Law Essentials
Who issues a permit
The Department of Public Safety issues concealed carry permits/licenses through local police/sheriffs for residents and the New Hampshire State Police for non-residents.
The application for a concealed carry permit or license must be handled within 14 days of submission.
Must notify officer
Nowhere in New Hampshire’s gun laws does it indicate that if a law enforcement officer approaches you on official business, you must tell them that you carry a handgun. At all times when you are in actual possession of a concealed firearm, we urge that you carry a picture ID. In NH, however, this is not a legal necessity.
No weapons signs enforced
New Hampshire’s firearms regulations make no mention of “No Weapons” signage. Entering a private property or company that has put these notices has no legal consequences. They have no legal standing unless they are placed in locations that are designated as off-limits by the law.
Regardless of whether the law allows or prohibits signage, we advise avoiding entering a property with a “No Weapons” sign. If you refuse to leave a property after being ordered to do so, you are breaching the law and risk being prosecuted.
Vehicle transportation is not restricted. A lot of information about vehicle carry on the internet predates the new 2017 legislation. The most recent law clearly states that you can carry in a vehicle.
159:6 License to Carry.
III. The availability of a license to carry a loaded pistol or revolver under this section or under any other provision of law shall not be construed to impose a prohibition on the unlicensed transport or carry of a firearm in a vehicle, or on or about one’s person, whether openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded, by a resident, nonresident, or alien if that individual is not otherwise prohibited by statute from possessing a firearm in the state of New Hampshire.
In NH, open or concealed carry without a permission or license is lawful.
If you may carry in a restaurant that offers alcohol, the answer is “Yes” or “No.” Some restaurants may have “NO GUN” signs displayed. Check with the staff to see whether this just applies to the bar. If we answered “Yes,” then eating a meal without drinking alcohol should be legal.
State park carry
Carry is legal in state parks, state forests, WMAs, and rest places along highways.
Carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun in or on a motor vehicle, power boat, or airplane is illegal. Any handgun whose name, model, serial number, or other mark of identification has been changed, altered, removed, or obliterated is illegal. Possession of a pistol with its markings tampered with gives rise to a legal presumption that the owner committed the crime.
It is illegal to discharge a weapon on someone else’s property within 300 feet of a regularly occupied building without the owner’s authorization.
Discharging a weapon from or over a public highway, including a highway’s rights of way, in pursuit of wild birds or animals is illegal.
Anyone who uses or attempts to employ Teflon coated, armor piercing, or explosive ammunition while committing a misdemeanor or crime is guilty of a separate felony.
The state of New Hampshire shall have authority and jurisdiction over the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter relating to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state to the extent that it is consistent with federal law. No ordinance or regulation of a political subdivision may regulate the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state unless otherwise specifically provided by statute.
Manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of weapons and ammunition are not liable for the injury caused by the illegal or unauthorized use of their goods by anyone in NH.
Disclosure or use of information
“All papers and records, including applications, pertaining to the issuance of… licenses [to carry loaded handguns] are subject to inspection only by law enforcement officials…while performing official duties…or upon written consent, for good cause shown, of the superior court in the county where said license was issued,” according to NH law.
Child Access Prevention
Unintentional gun fatalities among minors, adolescent suicides, and school shootings are all caused by easy access to weapons in the home.
Child access prevention (CAP) regulations are a critical instrument for lowering the number of children killed by guns. Adults who allow children unsupervised access to weapons are subject to CAP rules, which urge safe storage of firearms.
There are no CAP rules in place at the federal level, and they do not mandate gun owners to keep their firearms properly.
Federal law, on the other hand, makes it illegal for any licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer to sell or transfer any handgun unless the transferee is provided with a “secure gun storage or safety device,” and protects the lawful owner of a handgun who uses a secure gun storage or safety device from certain civil actions based on a third party’s criminal or unlawful misuse of the handgun. NH is one of the states that has enacted CAP legislation.
Furthermore, possessing a firearm by a juvenile (under the age of 18) is not prohibited in NH. However, unless you are the child’s parent, grandparent, or guardian, an executor or administrator transferring a gun to heirs of an estate, legally hunting with the young person, or supervising the minor during a firearms training program (with parental permission) or a legal shooting event, you can be charged with a misdemeanor if you sell, give, or loan a handgun to a minor.
Providing a juvenile with a martial arts weapon is also a misdemeanor unless you are the child’s parent, have the parent’s written approval, or are giving the weapon to heirs of an estate.
If you store a gun in a place where you know a child under the age of 16 is likely to get to it, you may be charged with a violation (and fined up to $1,000), but only if the child actually gets a hold of the weapon and uses it in a reckless or threatening manner, fires it recklessly, or uses it while committing a crime.
Even if this occurs, you will not be punished if one of many exceptions apply, such as if the youngster obtained the weapon by breaking into your home or if the pistol was kept in a secure, secured location. (N.H. Stat. §§ 159:12, 159:24, 650-C:1 (2019).)
Hello there, it’s Michael here. A gun lover since young, served the country for the last 20 years. I started the blog to share my experience and gun-related knowledge accumulated throughout the years. Hopefully, you will find something useful over here or just have fun! You can learn more about me here.