What You Need to Know About New Hampshire CCW
Not long ago, Governor Chris Sununu signed his first bill into law since being elected, removing the requirement for a New Hampshire concealed carry license to carry concealed, loaded pistols or revolvers in the state. Previous versions of Senate Bill 12, signed in February 2017, had been vetoed by the previous governor, Maggie Hassan. The bill aligns with the constitutional carry principle, which argues the Second Amendment is the only necessary provision for law-abiding citizens to possess and carry a firearm.
The process of legally carrying a firearm in the state has changed.
How New Hampshire Concealed Carry Laws Now Function
It was once only legal to open carry and carry a concealed, unloaded handgun without a license, according to a state supreme court ruling, and carry concealed loaded with a license, but New Hampshire concealed carry laws now allow residents and nonresidents to carry a loaded handgun concealed on the body or in a vehicle without a permit.
Only two of the now 12 constitutional carry states, Idaho and Wyoming, require state residency.
However, there is still a restriction on those who are prohibited from possessing a firearm as per New Hampshire and federal statutes.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Safety, there are three state-specific disqualifying criteria:
- Felony conviction against person or property
- A felony violation of RSA 318-B, the state’s Controlled Drug Act
- Being the subject of a domestic violence protection order
Under the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), there are nine prohibiting factors relating to mental health adjudication, controlled substance abuse, domestic violence, criminal history and citizenship.
As per RSA 159:19, the only location where one may not carry under state law is in a courtroom or area used by a court and RSA 159:26 outlines that only the state government, except for federal regulation, may control whether or not firearms are prohibited in a given location, nullifying any location-based town or city firearms laws, not including those pertaining to zoning and hunting.
Federal prohibitions, such as in Gun Free School Zones and federal facilities, still apply.
The state’s permit is now voluntary and serves as a necessary component if state residents travel out of state with their CCW. Nonresidents may still technically apply for it as well if they would like to benefit from the state’s reciprocity agreements.
A quick run-down on the New Hampshire concealed carry permit
Yes, it is still possible to apply for the New Hampshire concealed carry permit for its reciprocity benefits when traveling out of state with a concealed weapon.
As a shall-issue state, the five-year permit (recently changed from four years) is issued within 14 days to applicants who have “good reason to fear injury to the applicant's person or property or has any proper purpose, unless the applicant is prohibited by New Hampshire or federal statute from possessing a firearm,” according to the now revised section of RSA 159:6.
Once derided for containing the subjective phrase “suitable person” as a requirement to receive a license, that is no longer within the statute.
The New Hampshire resident pistol/revolver license application is submitted to one’s local police department, and there will be a $10 fee associated with it. Nonresident pistol/revolver license applications are mailed to and processed by the New Hampshire state police, and there is a $100 fee associated with it, which should be made payable to “STATE OF N.H. - TREASURER.”
Again, the real legal benefit of being issued the state permit is to benefit from reciprocity agreements.
New Hampshire Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Those who received a permit will benefit from New Hampshire concealed carry reciprocity agreements with nearly 30 states that recognize the state’s permit.
Note, however, that one must comply with the state’s laws where they are traveling to, and that some states have specific requirements that New Hampshire does not.
As there is no listed age requirement for the New Hampshire license, it may be likely that someone 18-21 years old could have the state license but not qualify to carry their firearm in a reciprocating state, according to the Department of Safety Division of State Police. As this is not formal legal advice nor an exhaustive guide to concealed carry in this state, consult local authorities about this and any other firearms questions you may have.
Technically speaking, nonresidents visiting New Hampshire will have their permit recognized if their own state recognizes New Hampshire’s permit, though this is just a formality, given the newly signed bill. Nonresident New Hampshire concealed carry licenses will also benefit from the state’s reciprocity agreements.
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About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.