See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.
New Hampshire prohibits any person from selling, advertising or exposing for sale, or having in one’s possession with intent to sell, a handgun without a local license to sell handguns.1 However, a person who is not licensed to sell handguns and not engaged in the business of selling handguns may sell a handgun to a person who is personally known to her or him or who is licensed to sell handguns.2 A license to sell a handgun may be obtained from the selectmen of a town or the chief of police of a city, and remains in effect for up to three years.3 Licensees must:
- Conduct business in the building designated in the license or at certain sporting shows or collectors’ meetings;
- Display the license on the premises, where it can be easily read; and
- Deliver firearms only to purchasers who provide evidence of their identity or to purchasers personally known to the licensee.4
Failure to comply with these conditions may result in revocation of the license to sell handguns.5
Licensees must conspicuously post at each purchase counter the following warning in bold type not less than one inch in height: “IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE OWNER OF A FIREARM SEEK FIREARM SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS FROM A CERTIFIED FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR AND KEEP FIREARMS SECURED FROM UNAUTHORIZED USE.”6
New Hampshire does not require sellers of rifles or shotguns to obtain a license.
For information about the laws:
- Requiring federally licensed dealers to conduct background checks on firearm purchasers, see the New Hampshire Background Checks section.
- Requiring dealers to maintain records of sales, see the New Hampshire Retention of Sales / Background Check Records section.
- Applicable to both licensed and private firearm sellers, see the New Hampshire Private Sales section.