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New Hampshire Gun Laws

New Hampshire Gun Laws

Like its neighbors (Vermont and Maine), New Hampshire has very liberal gun control laws. What makes New Hampshire law on gun unique however, is the level to which these laws exhibit such looseness. Most states with sub-standard gun control laws, do not require a permit or license to purchase or possess a handgun or rifle.


The only restrictions in regards to licenses or permits are typically for carrying a concealed gun. New Hampshire is a slight exception to this rule. Like other states with weak gun laws, New Hampshire does not require a permit or license to possess or purchase any sort of firearm. Registration is also not necessary. The slight alteration found in New Hampshire's gun laws is in regards to a concealed gun. A concealed handgun in the state does not require a permit, however, it will require a specific license in certain situations.


New Hampshire gun laws consider it illegal to carry a loaded handgun concealed about oneself or in a vehicle. "Concealed" and "loaded" are the key words in this stipulation. Unlike most states, there are legal forms of concealment; under New Hampshire gun law it is considered legal to openly carry an unloaded handgun or lock it in a truck or compartment within a vehicle.


Any other form of concealment requires a license to be obtained from the chief of police. The applicant will be granted all rights to conceal if the chief of police or administering body feels a "proper purpose" has been revealed.


Along with being a "suitable person" a "proper purpose" will be recognized as hunting, target shooting, self defense, or reasonable fear that one's life or property is in danger. The license must be issued within 14 days of application and grounds for denial include insanity, and severe addiction to drugs or alcohol.


New Hampshire's most scrupulous policies concerning firearms can be found in regards to the dealers and suppliers. This semi-strict stance placed on sellers is attributed to New Hampshire's location. Because it borders Canada, the state is susceptible to gun trafficking and illegal sales. Dissimilar to many "gun-loving" states, New Hampshire does require state licenses for all sellers or distributors of firearms.


Record keeping is not regulated under New Hampshire gun law, but random police inspections are allowed and used frequently. These are the only limitations found statewide. There are no limits on bulk purchases, ammunition regulations, or magazine sizes. Background checks are not required nor administered when purchasing a firearm. Fingerprints, ballistic filing, and even safety provisions for children are all neglected under New Hampshire gun law. 


Because there is no provision in New Hampshire gun laws that resides over machine gun purchase or use; federal law will control the registration and purchasing of such weapons. This is common for the state, because overall many common regulations are seemingly forgotten. Even with such loose laws towards firearms, New Hampshire consistently ranks as one of the safest places in the United States. That being said, it is still important for the state to adopt more progressive laws to further curb gun trafficking and the establishment of illegal gun markets.   




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