See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
In 2017, New Hampshire repealed its law requiring people carrying hidden, loaded guns in public to have a license. Anyone, including non-residents, may carry a concealed firearm without a license provided that the individual is not prohibited from possessing firearms under federal or New Hampshire law.
Individuals who wish to obtain a license to carry may still do so, however.1 New Hampshire is a “shall issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement2 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.3 In addition, “[n]o photograph or fingerprint shall be required or used as a basis to grant, deny, or renew a license to carry for a resident or non-resident, unless requested by the applicant.”4 Non-residents may submit applications to the division of state police.5
In 2017, the state repealed the requirement that the applicant is a suitable person to be licensed.6
Firearm Safety Training
New Hampshire law does not require applicants for a license to carry a firearm to undergo firearm safety training or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety.
Duration & Renewal
In 2017, the legislature lengthened the period of validity of a New Hampshire concealed weapons license from four to five years from the date of issue. “When required, license renewal shall take place within the month of the fifth anniversary of the license holder’s date of birth following the date of issuance.”7
Disclosure or Use of Information
New Hampshire law states: “All papers and records, including applications, pertaining to the issuance of… licenses [to carry loaded handguns] are subject to inspection only by law enforcement officials…while in the performance of official duties or upon written consent, for good cause shown, of the superior court in the county where said license was issued.”8
The director of the division of state police is required to negotiate and enter into reciprocal agreements with other jurisdictions to recognize New Hampshire concealed carry permits. The director must apply to every jurisdiction with which New Hampshire does not have a reciprocity agreement, at least once every 5 years to obtain recognition in those jurisdictions. See the New Hampshire Department of Safety web site for a list of the specific states with which New Hampshire has reciprocity.
- N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:6 ⤴︎
- Local law enforcement includes “[t]he selectmen of a town or , the mayor or chief of police of a city or a full-time police officer designated by them respectively, the county sheriff for a resident of an unincorporated place, or the county sheriff if designated by the selectmen of a town that has no police chief…or the director of state police, or some person designated by such director. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:6(I)(a). ⤴︎
- Id. ⤴︎
- N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:6(II). Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension and disqualification information, are detailed at N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 159:6, 159:6-b, 159:6-c. ⤴︎
- For regulations regarding non-resident licenses, see N.H. Code Admin. R. Ann. Saf-C 2101.01-2106.01. ⤴︎
- Id. Before the state repealed the suitable person requirement, the New Hampshire Supreme Court had held that an applicant may be unsuitable if he or she has a “significant and unexplained arrest history.” See, e.g., Garand v. Town of Exeter, 977 A.2d 540, 544 (N.H. 2009). ⤴︎
- N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:6(I)(b). ⤴︎
- N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:6-a. ⤴︎