See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.
There is no law in New Hampshire requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS. In 2016, the legislature enacted a Medicaid expansion bill that included a provision prohibiting a person, organization, department, or agency from submitting the name of any person to NICS on the basis that the person has been adjudicated a “mental defective” or has been committed to a mental institution, except pursuant to a court order issued following a hearing in which the person participated and was represented by an attorney.2 The 2016 law did not repeal an existing law that allows for the release of confidential patient information when provided for “by the need to protect the welfare of the individual or the public interest.”3
For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the New Hampshire Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.