Concealed Carry Permits In New Hampshire Is Governed By A State Constitution
State constitutions generally govern the ability to obtain a Concealed Carry Weapons Permit, however, not all states require them. There are just a few states – like Arizona, Vermont, and Alaska – which include what’s called “constitutional carry” laws in their legal structure, and a permit is not required to carry a concealed firearm. There are other stipulations within constitutional carry, however, that demand that anyone carrying a concealed weapon identify it when in contact with any Peace Officer. Failure to do so can result in felony charges being filed. Make sure you know the laws in New Hampshire.
Do you know the laws where you live in New Hampshire, you may be able to take advantage of the streamlined application process that exists within “Shall Issue” states. The standard approval process usually includes a background check, one or more required classes, qualification with your firearm (safety and marksmanship), and paying the required fee. Currently, Utah, Nevada, and Florida are the easiest states to obtain a Shall Issue CCW.
While obtaining a Concealed Carry permit requires an application for most citizens, even when acquiring one, it doesn’t mean that it is free from restrictions. For instance, in New Hampshire you may only be allowed to carry a revolver rather than a semi-automatic pistol, or you may only be allowed to carry a specific caliber of firearm. Additionally, you may have to undergo testing for proficiency regarding weapon safety and marksmanship, and in some instances, your CCW permissions may be limited to the county or city where the permit was issued. Where proficiency testing does occur, it usually happens on either an annual or semi-annual basis.
There are three types of Concealed Carry in States, Shall Issue, May Issue, and Constitutional Carry
Although some issuers of CCWs are not as strict as others, acquiring a CCW in New Hampshire may not be an easy process. There are “Shall Issue” states and “May Issue” states, ( and Constitutional Carry which do not require any permit) and if your state happens to be a “May Issue” state, then the local authorities are generally given discretion as to whether they believe it should be issued or not. However, no matter which type of issuance your state’s laws command, you will still have to go through a lengthy application process. In most locales, this means a long application requiring extensive information, some may also require a convincing letter that provides justification for your need of a Concealed Carry permit, and possible an oral interview as well.
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The New Hampshire State Constitutional Provision states: “All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property, and the state.”
New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the country which was ranked #1 in 2009 in a survey on state crime, yet the state has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the Country. There are no state licensing requirements for the possession of rifles, shotguns or handguns. In New Hampshire, approximately one in every three households contains at least one firearm, and typically two or more. Openly carrying a handgun is perfectly legal, and a license to carry concealed is easily obtained. Yet the homicide rate is just 1.1 per 100,000 residents, and the overall violent crime rate is 169.5 per 100,000. That's lower than in England!
New Hampshire is not unique in having high gun-ownership and low crime. Both Vermont and Wyoming have a high percentage of gun ownership and experience some of the lowest violent crime rates. Conversely, Chicago, New York, and Washington DC which all have the most restrictive gun laws have some of the highest violent crimes in the country.
New Hampshire is a "shall-issue state" for a license to carry a concealed handgun. The act of open carrying of firearms by non-felons is generally permissible. No license is required to openly carry a firearm while not in a vehicle, but carry of a loaded pistol or revolver in a motor vehicle, openly or concealed, does require a CCW license.
A person may carry a handgun openly upon his person or unloaded 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.
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It is federal law that a person buying any type of firearm must be 21 years old. However, in New Hampshire, there are no age restrictions for owning a gun. This means that a 21-year-old individual can legally buy a firearm and give it to their younger sibling as a gift. There are no licenses whatsoever in New Hampshire for purchasing of a gun. This means if one brings identification that proves they are 21 years or older, they can buy a gun. It is up to the dealer whether or not to do background checks. The only license and/or permit that someone can buy in New Hampshire is a concealed carry license, CCW. Anyone can carry an unloaded gun with them in New Hampshire.
As the debate over gun control rages in Washington and across the country, a look at New Hampshire's laws shows that the state has a mostly hands-off approach. When it comes to gun rights versus gun control, New Hampshire falls in the middle of the pack compared with the other 50 states. Unlike in California or New York, there is no permitting process for purchases and no state registration or licensing of firearms. But strong Second Amendment backers said New Hampshire doesn't enjoy the same scope of freedom as states such as Wyoming or Vermont. "There's a lot of people who think New Hampshire is this incredibly firearm-friendly state, and we're somewhat firearm-friendly, but not nearly as firearm-friendly as people think we are," said a New Hampshire resident and gun-rights advocate.
You need a license to carry a loaded gun either in your car, or concealed on your body, in the state of New Hampshire. To carry a loaded gun out in the open, you don’t need a license at all. That makes New Hampshire one of 28 states that allow “open carry” to just about anyone, no permit or license needed. People have been free to carry a loaded gun openly in NH since statehood. That is to say, there’s never been a law that prohibits or regulates it. It’s the same with many other states across the country.
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