NH State Firearm Laws - Summary

The New Hampshire Reciprocity MAP

states

These states recognize New Hampshire permits:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming

New Hampshire state laws on purchase, possession and carrying of firearms.

PURCHASE

There are no state licensing requirements for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or handgun.

It is unlawful to sell any firearm to any convicted felon. It is unlawful to sell or give a handgun to a minor, unless the gift is from a parent, guardian or executor to a child, ward or heir.

POSSESSION

There are no state licensing requirements for the possession of rifles, shotguns or handguns. It is unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony to own, possess or control any firearm.

Persons who are the subject of a court protective order may be required to surrender all firearms and ammunition.

Seal of New Hampshire.svg

CARRY

It is lawful to carry a loaded handgun in any vehicle or concealed about one's person without a license.

A person may carry a handgun concealed or openly upon his person or loaded and exposed or locked up in a vehicle without a license to carry. To obtain a license to carry, a person must apply to the selectmen or mayor or chief of police of the town where he is a resident. The selectmen or mayor or chief of police shall issue a license to the applicant authorizing him to carry a handgun if he is a suitable person to be licensed and has good reason to fear an injury to his person or property or has any other "proper purpose."  Hunting, target shooting or self-defense shall be considered proper purposes.  The license shall be valid for all allowable purposes regardless of the purpose for which it was originally issued.

The fee for the license is $10.00 for New Hampshire residents and the license is valid for not more than five years and is completely voluntary. The license shall be in duplicate with one copy held by the licensee and one copy held by the issuing officer.

The license must be issued within 14 days of application. If the application is denied, the reasons for the denial must be stated in writing and delivered to the applicant.

A non-resident may obtain a license to carry by applying to the director of state police. He must meet the requirements as outlined above and pay a fee of $100.

A person shall not knowingly carry or have in his control any firearm in a courtroom or area used by a court. This shall not apply to authorized persons, police officers, and security guards.

ANTIQUES AND REPLICAS

Antiques, defined as any handgun "utilizing an early type of ignition," such as flintlocks, percussion and pin fires, are exempt from the above regulations. No handgun which utilizes centerfire or rimfire cartridges will be considered an antique.

MACHINE GUNS

In the absence of any state law governing automatic weapons, federal law controls the registration and regulation of machine guns in New Hampshire.

PREEMPTION

new-hampshireThe 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.

159:26 Firearms and Ammunition;  Authority of 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.

Range Protection

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...

159-B:1 Exemption.

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.

MISCELLANEOUS

It is unlawful to carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in or on any motor vehicle, power boat or airplane. It is unlawful to change, alter, remove or obliterate the name of the maker, model, serial number or other mark of identification on any handgun. Possession of a handgun with its marks altered creates a legal presumption that the possessor committed the offense. 

It is unlawful to discharge a firearm on the land of another within 300 feet of a permanently occupied building without the permission of the owner.

It is unlawful to discharge a firearm from or across a public highway, including the rights of way of a highway, in pursuit of wild birds or animals.

A person who uses or attempts to use Teflon coated or armor piercing or exploding ammunition in the course of any misdemeanor or felony shall be guilty of a separate felony.

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.

New Hampshire prohibits civil liability causes of action against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or ammunition for the harm caused by the criminal or unlawful use of their products by others.

SOURCES: N.H. Rev. Ann. §§ 159.1; 159.3-159.8b; 159.11-159.21; 159-D: 1-3; 207:3-a; 207:3-c

CAUTION: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. This summary does not include federal or local laws, ordinances or regulations. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

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