New Hampshire has some of the strongest protections for gun rights in the United States. Highlights include Constitutional Carry, State Pre-emption of local restrictions, and Castle Doctrine all being present.
Also see body armor for information on the ownership of body armor.
Quick Reference Table
|Subject/Law||Long Guns||Hand Guns||Relevant Statutes||Notes|
|State permit required to purchase?||No||No||NHRS XII § 159:14|
|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|
Federal Firearm Law Nullification
HB1178 has been signed into law. This nullifies federal gun control and prohibits state agents from aiding in their enforcement in NH. From the bill:
Pursuant to the general court’s authority under Part II, Article 5 of the New Hampshire Constitution, the state of New Hampshire, a political subdivision of this state, or any person acting under the color of state, county, or municipal law shall be prohibited from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer, or cooperate with any law, act, rule, order, or regulation of the United States Government or Executive Order of the President of the United States that is inconsistent with any law of this state regarding the regulation of firearms, ammunition, magazines or the ammunition feeding devices, firearm components, firearms supplies, or knives.
New Hampshire Constitution
The NH constitution states the following:
[Art.] 2-a. [The Bearing of Arms.] All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.
Related to this, it also states:
[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
Firearm Restrictions in New Hampshire
There are very few restrictions on firearms in New Hampshire.
Travelling with loaded rifles
According to RSA 207:1, "Loaded" is defined as:
A round or projectile in the chamber fully dischargeable by pulling the trigger.
According to RSA 207:7:
No person shall have or carry, in or on a motor vehicle, OHRV, snowmobile, or aircraft, when moving, a cocked crossbow, a loaded rifle or loaded shotgun, muzzleloader, or air rifle, except a person or a person's agent while in the act of protecting his or her interest in their livestock or crops.
There is an exemption for disabled persons, however. According to RSA 207:7-a:
RSA 207:7 shall not apply to a disabled person who is suffering from paraplegia or who is suffering from the loss of, or the loss of the use of, both lower extremities and who has obtained a current license to hunt; provided, however, that such person must first obtain from the executive director a special permit entitling said person to hunt while using a motor vehicle
No loaded firearm, shotgun, or rifle shall be carried or transported with a cartridge in the chamber, magazine, or clip attached to the firearm, shotgun, or rifle, while the vehicle is in motion.
Shooting across highways
According to RSA 207:3-c:
No person shall discharge a firearm, bow and arrow, air rifle, or crossbow and bolt from within 15 feet of the traveled portion of or across any class I through V highway of the state.
It continues to state:
Any person convicted of discharging a firearm, bow and arrow, air rifle, or crossbow and bolt prohibited under the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a violation.
Wildlife Damage Control
You may defend your animals from wild animals in NH.
According to RSA 207:26:
A person may pursue, wound or kill, on land owned or occupied by such person, any unprotected bird or wild animal which the person finds in the act of doing actual and substantial damage to poultry, crops, domestic animals, or the person's property
Gun Manufacturers in New Hampshire
Gun Buyback Programs
Gun Buyback Programs, or "Voluntarily Surrender and Destroy" programs, are not allowed in NH. Instead, when firearms are voluntarily surrendered to police or to the state in general, they must either keep them for their own use, or they must offer them for sale to the public. They cannot destroy them.
From RSA 159:25:
No state agency shall operate a firearms "voluntary surrender and destroy" program. Firearms which are voluntarily surrendered to a state agency shall be sold at public auction or kept by the state agency for its own use. Proceeds from firearms sold at public auction by the state shall be deposited in the general fund.