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Gun laws in New Hampshire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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; while the state has not had a mass shooting event since 1982,[4][5] its per capita gun death rate, the 9th lowest gun death rate of the 50 states,[6] is double neighboring Massachusetts, which has among the strictest gun laws in the U.S. This is driven entirely by a difference in suicide rates between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, since New Hampshire also has the lowest per capita murder rate of any state, which is less than half the per capita murder rate in Massachusetts.[7]

Summary table[edit]

Subject / law Long guns Handguns 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 residents and non-residents who are 18 years or older and is one of the few states that will issue to non-citizens living outside of the United States.
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

State constitutional provisions[edit]

Article 2-a of the Constitution of New Hampshire states:

"All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state."

Concealed and open carry[edit]

Since February 22, 2017, New Hampshire has been 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.[8]

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.[9]

New Hampshire has no laws restricting the age at which a person may possess and carry firearms.[10][11][12]

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". Gencourt.us. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  4. ^ "Mass shootings in the U.S., by state 1982-2021". Statista. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  5. ^ Wilson, Chris (April 16, 2021). "41 Years of Mass Shootings in the U.S. in One Chart". Time. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  6. ^ "Firearm Mortality by State". US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  7. ^ "How the Murder Rate in Massachusetts Compares to the Rest of the Country". The Center Square. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  8. ^ Pro-Gun New Hampshire – Frequently Asked Questions about NH Gun Laws Archived August 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "New Hampshire State Police – Permits and Licensing FAQs". Nh.gov. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  10. ^ "New Hampshire". OpenCarry.org. September 27, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  11. ^ "Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in New Hampshire | Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence". smartgunlaws.org. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  12. ^ "New Hampshire Statutes – Chapter 159: Pistols and Revolvers". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved November 23, 2011.