Concealed Carry State Laws In New Hampshire
Concealed carry laws, or CCW’s, in New Hampshire refers to the legally issued permit which allows for the carrying of a handgun or other weapon in a concealed manner within any place open to the general public.
Not all weapons that fall under concealed carry state laws in New Hampshire are lethal, there are some states that regulate non-lethal items such a pepper spray that are carried over a set volume requiring the obtaining of a CCW permit. (In some states non-lethal items require a separate permit)
Every State's Concealed Carry Laws Are Unique In New Hampshire
While in New Hampshire there is no current federal law that specifically address the issuance of concealed carry permits for private citizens as each state is responsible for the control of concealed carry permits within its sovereign borders. All 50 states have passed laws allowing their respective residents to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from their local Sheriff’s office or Chief of police.
In all states and in New Hampshire the only federal law concerning CCW’s is the Peace Officer Safety Act of 2004, (H.R. 218) to lean about this and all other states Concealed Carry Laws see our database on our website US Precision Defense where we maintain a comprehensive listing of every States weapons laws.
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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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