New Hampshire is a shall-issue, constitutional 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 is legal in New Hampshire without a permit for anyone at least 18 years of age who can legally possess a firearm. There is no minimum age to carry a firearm, however the federal minimum age is 18 years old.
Concealed carry is legal without a permit, however, Pistol/Revolver Licenses (PRLs) are issued to residents and non-residents for reciprocity purposes. No fingerprinting or photograph is required for a PRL. New Hampshire law does not require applicants for a license to carry a firearm to undergo firearms safety training or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety. In terms of reciprocity, since New Hampshire has permitless carry, any person 18 years of age and older that can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm without a license or permit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MAGAZINE LIMITS FOR HANDGUNS?
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.
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.
Carry/Possess at a hotel?
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 theHandguns at Hotels pagefor additional information.
Store in a Vehicle in an Employee Parking Lot?
Does New Hampshire have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
No definition of brandishing was found in New Hampshire law. However, 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.
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 permits to non-residents?
Yes. The process is the same as for residents.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO CONCEALED CARRY REGISTRY?
Does New Hampshire allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
No. However, the information is available for law enforcement.
Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in New Hampshire?
No. A permit is not required to purchase a handgun in New Hampshire.
Background Checks for Private Gun Sales?
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.
New Hampshire Permit Exempts from Background Check?
Does my current New Hampshire concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
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.
Do handguns need to be registered in New Hampshire?
No. Handguns do not need to be registered in New Hampshire.
Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?
What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in New Hampshire?
Since New Hampshire has permitless carry, any person 18 years of age and older that can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on their person without a license or permit. However, even though it is a permitless carry state they will still issue permits to residents and non-residents for reciprocity purposes.
New Hampshire residents can carry a concealed defensive firearm in the state of Oklahoma without any type of permit. You must carry your driver's license or state issued ID when carrying your firearm in Oklahoma.
Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.
States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with New Hampshire
New Hampshire offers resident and non-resident permits. If indicated with “Resident only” below, that state only honors New Hampshire resident permits (and not those issued to non-residents).
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
A non-resident can complete the non-resident application and mail it to the NH State Police:
NH State Police Permits and License Unit 33 Hazen Drive Concord, NH 03305
Forward a letter to NH State Police notifying them of the change of address, including the old and new address. If you would like to receive a license that reflects the new address, enclose a fee of $3.00. Send to:
NH State Police Permits and Licensing Unit 33 Hazen Drive Concord, NH 03305
Write a letter explaining the reason for your request and include a duplicate license fee of $3.00. Send to:
NH State Police Permits and Licensing Unit 33 Hazen Drive Concord, NH 03305
Moving to New Hampshire and interested in applying for a resident license? How soon can you apply? New Hampshire issues resident and non-resident licenses, so you can apply for your license at any time. In order to apply for a resident license, you may need to provide a New Hampshire driver's license or state ID, or an out-of-state Driver's License, along with a current utility bill at your NH residence or a signed rent/lease agreement.
Moving from New Hampshire and have a New Hampshire resident license? Does that license transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your New Hampshire license remains valid? If a person with a New Hampshire Pistol/Revolver License establishes residency in another state, the license is valid until it expires provided you submit the above referenced Name/Address change form.
New Hampshire Concealed Carry Permit Application Process
How to Apply for a New Hampshire Concealed Carry Permit
Download the application form.
Take the completed application to your local law enforcement office (may be Town Selectman, Mayor, Chief of Police or County Sheriff) or the State Police if a non-resident. You will need the names of three persons for references.
Non-resident applications should be mailed to:
NH State Police Permits and License Unit 33 Hazen Drive Concord, NH 03305
You will be notified by mail within 14 days whether your application has been approved or denied.
New Hampshire is a shall-issue state, meaning that local law enforcement must issue a license to carry a loaded handgun if “it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property or has any proper purpose.” Hunting, target shooting or self-defense is considered a proper purpose.
No photographs or fingerprints required are used as a basis to grant, deny or renew a license to carry for a resident or non-resident, unless requested by the applicant.
New Hampshire law does not require applicants for a license to carry a firearm to undergo firearms safety training or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety. However, the USCCA recommends that anyone who makes the choice to carry a concealed firearm obtain as much training as possible in order to be a responsibly armed American.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
New Hampshire Rev, Stat. Ann. § 106.L:5, XXII authorizes the Police Standards and Training Council (PSTC) to adopt rules to implement the provisions of LEOSA. The PSTC adopted Administrative Rule 404.03(m) – (o) for that purpose. Once the qualified RLEO presents appropriate identification to an officer holding a current council firearms instructor certification and successfully completes the use of force training and handgun qualification two consecutive times, the instructor will issue documentation to the qualified RLEO.
I can legally carry a concealed firearm in New Hampshire, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
There is no known statute in New Hampshire making it illegal to wear a COVID mask while carrying concealed.
CARRY WHILE GUN HUNTING?
Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in New Hampshire?
Yes, however the handgun cannot be used to take or attempt to take deer.
CARRY WHILE BOW HUNTING?
Can you concealed carry while bow hunting in New Hampshire?
Yes. A hunter is entitled to carry firearms while bow hunting, unless prohibited by state or federal law from carrying a firearm. No person taking deer under the provisions of this section shall take or attempt to take deer with any type of firearm.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email [email protected] and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.
If you have any questions regarding USCCA Membership, Delta Defense, handguns laws or the lawful process of carrying concealed, please contact the award-winning Delta Defense Customer Engagement Team.
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