New Hampshire: Gun Laws Summary
New Hampshire is a shall-issue, permitless carry state. Residents apply to the local law enforcement office and non-residents to the State Department of Justice. There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required to buy a handgun from a private individual. Open carry and concealed carry are legal in New Hampshire without a license for anyone at least 18 years of age who can legally possess a firearm. 
New Hampshire is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. A person who is lawfully in a place or location and who is threatened with bodily injury or loss of life has no duty to retreat from a threat prior to using force. 
Use of Force in Defense of Premises
A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be there is justified in using non-deadly force when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other in or upon such premises. But he or she may use deadly force under such circumstances only in defense of a person or when one reasonably believes it necessary to prevent an attempt by the trespasser to commit arson. 
A person who justifiably uses force in self-protection or in the protection of other persons, in the protection of premises and property, in law enforcement or in the care or welfare of a minor pursuant, shall be immune from civil liability for personal injuries sustained by a perpetrator. 
Physical Force in Defense of a Person
A person is justified in using non-deadly force upon another person in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what one reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful, non-deadly force, and a person may use a degree of such force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary. A person is justified in using deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that another person is: About to use unlawful, deadly force against the actor or a third person; Is likely to use any unlawful force against a person present while committing or attempting to commit a burglary; Is committing or about to commit kidnapping or a forcible sex offense; or Is likely to use any unlawful force in the commission of a felony against the actor within such actor’s dwelling or its curtilage. 
Deadly force is not justified if the actor knows that he or she and the third person can, with complete safety:
- Retreat from the encounter (except that he or she is not required to retreat if he or she is within his or her dwelling, its curtilage or anywhere he or she has a right to be) and was not the initial aggressor; or
- Surrender property to the person; or
- Comply with a demand that he or she abstain from performing an act which the actor is not obliged to perform.
“Curtilage” means those outbuildings which are proximately, directly and intimately connected with a dwelling, together with all the land or grounds surrounding the dwelling such as are necessary, convenient and habitually used for domestic purposes.“Dwelling” means any building, structure, vehicle, boat or other place adapted for overnight accommodation of persons or sections of any place similarly adapted. It is immaterial whether a person is actually present. 
New Hampshire: Gun Laws at a Glance
|Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in New Hampshire?
|Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a license for anyone at least 18 years old with no felony convictions. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§159-21 & 159-22]
|Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in New Hampshire?
|Yes. There is no statute prohibiting the purchase or use of pepper spray in New Hampshire.
|Does New Hampshire have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?
|No. New Hampshire does not have magazine capacity restrictions.
|Does New Hampshire have ammunition restrictions?
|Yes. New Hampshire law prohibits any person from attempting to use or using, in the course of committing any misdemeanor or felony, any teflon-coated or armor-piercing bullet or cartridge or any bullet or cartridge that contains an explosive substance in the projectile and is designed to explode upon impact. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:18]
|Does New Hampshire allow permitless carry?
|Yes. New Hampshire allows permitless carry.
|Is open carry permitted in New Hampshire?
|Yes, without a license. Any person who is at least 18 years old and legally entitled to possess a firearm can open carry. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159-6]
|If New Hampshire requires a license to carry a concealed firearm, how are those licenses issued?
|New Hampshire is a shall-issue/permitless carry state.
|What is the minimum age in New Hampshire to get a concealed carry license?
|18. There is no minimum age to carry a firearm, however the federal minimum age is 18 years old.
|Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in New Hampshire with a concealed carry license (or under permitless carry if applicable)?
|No. A concealed carry license does not allow you to carry weapons other than handguns.
New Hampshire: Carry Locations
|Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in New Hampshire?
|Yes, without a license for anyone not otherwise prohibited by statute from possessing a firearm. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159-6]
|Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in New Hampshire?
|Yes. You can carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in New Hampshire.
|Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in New Hampshire?
|Yes. Concealed carry is allowed in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in New Hampshire. [NH Admin. Rule 7301.10(a)] [NH Rev. Stat. Ann. § 212-17]
|Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in New Hampshire?
|Yes, there is no statute making it illegal to concealed carry in bars or restaurants, unless posted.
|Does New Hampshire have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
|Not addressed in New Hampshire state law, although employers may have a policy.
|Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in New Hampshire?
|New Hampshire statutes don’t specifically address firearms at hotels. Please note that each hotel develops their own policies and the individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it’s concealed carry policy. See the Handguns at Hotels page for additional information.
New Hampshire: Key State Laws
|Is my New Hampshire driver’s license linked to my New Hampshire carry license?
|No. Your New Hampshire driver’s license is not linked to your New Hampshire pistol/revolver license. Therefore, a law enforcement officer (LEO) will not be notified that you are a concealed carry license holder immediately when they run your driver’s license. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159-6]
|Are “No Weapons Allowed” signs enforced in New Hampshire?
|No. “No Weapons Allowed” signs are not enforced in New Hampshire.
|Does New Hampshire have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?
|Yes, the state has preemption of firearms laws in New Hampshire. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159-26]
|Does New Hampshire have a red flag law?
|No. New Hampshire does not have a red flag law.
|Does New Hampshire have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or drugs?
|Not addressed in state statutes. As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
|Does New Hampshire issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?
|Yes. The process is the same as for residents.
|Does New Hampshire allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
|No. Information is available for law enforcement only. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159-6-a]
|Do you have a duty to inform a police officer that you’re carrying a concealed firearm in New Hampshire?
|No. There is no duty to inform a law enforcement officer that you’re carrying a concealed firearm in New Hampshire. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159-6]
|Does New Hampshire state law define brandishing?
|No definition of brandishing was found in New Hampshire law. A person is guilty of reckless conduct if he recklessly engages in conduct which places or may place another in danger of serious bodily injury. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 631:3] A person is guilty of criminal threatening when by physical conduct, the person places or attempts to place another in fear of imminent bodily injury or physical contact. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 631:4] As of September 21, 2021, per the passage of HB 195, the act of displaying a firearm will not count as reckless conduct “in and of itself and without additional circumstances.”
New Hampshire: Handgun Purchase and Possession
|Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in New Hampshire?
|No. There is not a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in New Hampshire. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:14]
|Do handguns need to be registered in New Hampshire?
|No. Handguns do not need to be registered in New Hampshire. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:4]
|What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in New Hampshire?
|18 years old. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12 159:12]
|Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home without a license?
|Yes. Permitless carry is allowed in New Hampshire for anyone legally entitled to carry a firearm. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:4]
|Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in New Hampshire?
|No. A permit is not required to purchase a handgun in New Hampshire. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:7]
|Are background checks required for private gun sales in New Hampshire?
|No. Private firearms transfers are not subject to a background check requirement, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions, including age restrictions, still apply. It is recommended that you retain any sales receipts to prove ownership of the gun. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:14]
|Does my current New Hampshire concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?