New Hampshire

“All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.”


New Hampshire is a shall-issue, constitutional carry state. There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required to buy from a private individual. Open carry is legal without a permit at 18. Concealed carry is legal without a permit. In terms of reciprocity, since New Hampshire has permitless carry, any person 18 years of age and older may carry a concealed firearm. New Hampshire is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. A person has no duty to retreat. A person who justifiably uses force shall be immune from civil liability. 

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, New Hampshire will recognize another state’s license to carry:

“The availability of a license to carry a loaded pistol or revolver under this section or under any other provision of law shall not be construed to impose a prohibition on the unlicensed transport or carry of a firearm in a vehicle, or on or about one’s person, whether openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded, by a resident, nonresident, or alien if that individual is not otherwise prohibited by statute from possessing a firearm in the state of New Hampshire.”

Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the New Hampshire State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur.

Duty To Notify Police Officer

There is no duty to inform a LEO immediately on contact that you possess a firearm. You are required to have Your permit/license and proper identification with You at all times when You carry a concealed firearm and must present both if the LEO demands.

Carrying Firearms In Vehicles

New Hampshire generally allows carrying loaded handguns in vehicles without a license. Loaded long guns may not be carried in vehicles.

Constitutional Carry

New Hampshire permits anyone who is over the age of 18 and may legally possess a firearm to carry a handgun concealed or openly without a permit.

NFA Items

New Hampshire permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law.

Self-Defense Laws

New Hampshire has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in any place You have a legal right to be, and You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably believe it is imminently necessary to prevent death or SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling, residence, or occupied motor vehicle.

Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

New Hampshire has no laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but You are prohibited from carrying while You consume alcohol.

Do “No Gun Signs” Have The Force Of Law?

“No Firearm” signs in New Hampshire do not have the force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State law as being off limits to those with a permit/license to carry. However, as a possessor with a real property interest, a retailer, has the right to limit, and qualify the right to enter the property, subject to not carrying a handgun. It would be improper to enter, and the licensee would be subject to ejection for possession of a handgun thereat. Failure to leave once requested would subject the licensee to criminal charges.

Open Carry

Open carry is legal. New Hampshire has permitless carry. Anyone who can legally possess a firearm can carry open or concealed without any type of permit/license. The state preempts all firearm laws in the state and local authorities cannot have laws/ordinances against open carry. Remember that if You enter any property and the owner/responsible person asks You to leave, You must do so. Failure to leave can result in trespass charges. The minimum age to open carry is 18.

DISCLAIMER: The Gun Laws by State Guide (GLBSG) was created to provide its readers with a general educational resource tool to explore the pertinent gun laws in Your jurisdiction.

However, the GLBSG was not researched and/or written by attorneys as a specific legal guide to rely upon. Instead, it is a starting point for your own research. In addition, all laws are always subject to reasonable, but different, legal interpretation as to meaning and application.

As such, the GLBSG is not intended to supplant, nor limit, Your need for independent verification of any and all material contained herein and consultation with competent counsel of choice regarding any specific issues.

This type of specific legal analysis is necessarily beyond the general educational objective of the GLBSG and for which a bar-admitted attorney in the particular state(s) is needed and required. The content of this GLBSG is a general restatement of the law.

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