Gun laws in New Hampshire

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Location of New Hampshire in the United States

Gun laws in New Hampshire regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of New Hampshire in the United States.[1][2][3] New Hampshire's gun laws are amongst some of the most permissive in the United States, and yet, the state has not had a single mass shooting event in over 20 years.[4][5]

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long Guns Hand Guns Relevant Statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? No No NHRS XII § 159:14
Firearm registration? No No
Assault weapon law? No No
Magazine capacity restriction? No No
Owner license required? No No
Permit required for concealed carry? N/A No NHRS XII § 159:6 New Hampshire is a "shall issue" state for citizens and lawful permanent residents who are 18 years or older.
Permitless carry took effect on February 22, 2017.
Permit required for open carry? No No NHRS XII § 159:6
NHRS XVIII § 207:7
May carry openly without permit. Loaded long guns prohibited in motor vehicles.
Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law? Yes Yes NHRS LXII § 627
State preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes NHRS XII § 159:26 "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 or knives businesses in the same manner as other businesses..."
NFA weapons restricted? No No
Peaceable Journey laws? No No
Background checks required for private sales? No No

Concealed and open carry[edit]

Since February 22, 2017, New Hampshire is a constitutional carry state, requiring no license to open carry or concealed carry a firearm in public. Concealed carry permits are still issued for purposes of reciprocity with other states.[6]

The New Hampshire license is issued for carry of a "pistol or revolver," and is not a license to carry "weapons" as exists in some other states. The New Hampshire license is issued by the local mayor, selectmen, or police department at a cost of $10 for residents, and by the New Hampshire State Police at a cost of $100 for non-residents (changed from $20 on July 1, 2009). The term of issue of the license is five years. Turn around time is generally one to two weeks, with fourteen days being the maximum time allowed by law.[7]

New Hampshire has no laws restricting the age at which a person may possess and carry firearms.[8][9][10]

On June 2, 2016, the New Hampshire Supreme Court, in Bach v. New Hampshire Dept. of Safety, No. 2014–0721, 2016 WL 3086130, threw out a rule imposed by concealed carry permit issuing authorities that had required non-residents to have a permit to carry issued by the state in which they resided. The basis for invalidating such rule was that it denied a New Hampshire non-resident permit to residents of jurisdictions that are effectively No-Issue, such as New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and others.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "State Gun Laws: New Hampshire", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  2. ^ "New Hampshire State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  3. ^ "New Hampshire Statues – Chapter 159: Pistols and Revolvers". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  4. ^ "Mass shootings in the U.S., by state 1982-2021". Statista. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  5. ^ "". Time Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2021. External link in |title= (help)
  6. ^ Pro-Gun New Hampshire – Frequently Asked Questions about NH Gun Laws Archived August 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "New Hampshire State Police – Permits and Licensing FAQs". Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "New Hampshire". September 27, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in New Hampshire | Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence". Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  10. ^ "New Hampshire Statutes – Chapter 159: Pistols and Revolvers". Retrieved November 23, 2011.