Existing New Hampshire Laws (with key provisions)

Reviewed/updated 05Mar2021

In alphabetical order:

Disorderly Conduct, Unauthorized Use of Firearms, etc.
See Title LXII Criminal Code, Chapter 644: Breaches of the Peace and Related Offenses
http:www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/lxii/644/644-mrg.htm

Disorderly Conduct, Section 644:2 eff. July 22, 2005
A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if:
III. He purposely causes a breach of the peace, public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creates a risk thereof, by:
(a) Making loud or unreasonable noises in a public place, or making loud or unreasonable noises in a private place which can be heard in a public place or other private places, which noises would disturb a person of average sensibilities.

Unauthorized Use of Firearms, Section 644:13 eff. Aug. 4, 2015
I. A person is guilty of a violation if, within the compact part of a town or city, such person fires or discharges any cannon, gun, pistol, or other firearm, except by written permission of the chief of police or governing body.
(b) “Compact part” means the territory within a town or city comprised of the following:
(1) Any nonresidential, commercial building, including, but not limited to, industrial, educational, or medical buildings, plus a perimeter 300 feet wide around all such buildings without permission of the owner.
(2) Any park, playground, or other outdoor public gathering place designated by the legislative body of the city or town.

Selling Air Rifles or Paint Ball Guns to Young Persons, Section 644:14 eff. Jan. 1, 2000 If any person shall sell, barter, rent, lend, or give an air rifle or paint ball gun to a person under the age of 18, without the written consent of the parent or guardian, as the case may be, such person shall be guilty of a violation. Air rifles and paint ball guns may be used in New Hampshire only in the home of the person under 18 under parental supervision or on an approved range under responsible adult supervision. Air rifles or paint ball guns may be possessed by a person under 18 only in his or her own home under parental supervision or on the way to or from an approved range that is under the supervision of a responsible adult such as an instructor in gun safety or marksmanship.

Furnishing Arms to Persons Under 16, Section 644:15, eff. April 28, 2006
I. Any person who shall sell, barter, hire, lend, or give to any person under the age of 16 years any cartridges or shotshells suitable for discharging in any rifle, pistol, revolver, or shotgun shall be guilty of a violation.
II. This section shall not apply to:
(a) Fathers, mothers, grandparents, or guardians of such children.
(b) Individuals instructing such children in the safe use of firearms during a supervised firearms training program, provided the child’s parent or legal guardian has granted the child permission to participate in such program.
(c) Licensed hunters accompanying such children while lawfully taking wildlife.
(d) Individuals supervising such children using firearms during a lawful shooting event or activity.

Domestic Violence
See Title XII Public Safety and Welfare, Chapter 173-B, Protection of Persons from Domestic Violence https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xii/173-b/173-b-mrg.htm

Temporary Relief, Section 173-B:4, eff. July 21, 2014 …temporary relief may direct the defendant to relinquish to a peace officer any and all firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant…
II. The defendant may be prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing any deadly weapons and any and all firearms and ammunition for the duration of the order. The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing the peace officer to seize any deadly weapons specified in the protective order…

Relief, Section 173-B:5, eff. July 21, 2014 X. (a) Within 15 days prior to the expiration of the protective orders, the defendant may request, by motion to the court, the return of any and all firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons held by the law enforcement agency while the protective order was in effect. X. (c) The law enforcement agency may charge the defendant a reasonable fee for the storage of any firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons taken pursuant to a protective order. The fee shall not exceed the actual cost incurred by the law enforcement agency for the storage of the firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons. The defendant may make alternative arrangements with a federally licensed firearms dealer for the storage of firearms, at the defendant’s own expense, upon approval of the court.
X. (d) No law enforcement agency shall be held liable for alleged damage or deterioration due to storage or transportation to any firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons held by a law enforcement agency…

Exeter Noise Ordinance
See Town of Exeter Ordinances Chapter 7, Conduct Regulations https://www.exeternh.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/ord_chapter_7_conduct_regulations_2011jun.pdf

701 Unnecessary Noise: It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to make, create, maintain or simulate any excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noises which are prolonged, unusual and unnatural in their time, place and use effect, and are a detriment to public health, comfort.

704.3 Discharge of firearms on town property: Notwithstanding the provisions of 704.1 above, no person, except a Law Enforcement Officer in the proper execution of his duties, firm or corporation shall fire or discharge any cannon, gun, pistol or other firearm, rocket or squibs upon any property owned or leased by the Town of Exeter except that at the following locations the following activities shall be permitted:

a. A designated firing range approved by the Board of Selectmen upon recommendation of the Chief of Police with the concurrence of the Town Manager at which instruction in the use of firearms shall be allowed as part of the Police Department’s training procedures
b. The Sportsman’s Club maintained on the Water Works property, so-called, off Portsmouth Avenue, at which Sportsman’s Club, the Club members shall be allowed to carry out their customary firearms activities

OHRVs and Trails
See Title XVIII Fish and Game, Chapter 215-A, Off Highway Recreational Vehicles and Trails, eff. July 30, 1981 http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xviii/215-a/215-a-mrg.htm

215-A:1 Definitions VI. “Off highway recreational vehicle” means any mechanically propelled vehicle used for pleasure or recreational purposes running on rubber tires, tracks, or cushion of air and dependent on the ground or surface for travel, or other unimproved terrain whether covered by ice or snow or not, where the operator sits in or on the vehicle. All legally registered motorized vehicles when used for off highway recreational purposes shall fall within the meaning of this definition; provided that, when said motor vehicle is being used for transportation purposes only, it shall be deemed that said motor vehicle is not being used for recreational purposes. For purposes of this chapter “off highway recreational vehicle” shall be abbreviated as OHRV. OHRVs shall include any pedaled vehicle equipped with a motor that is not included in the definition of electric bicycle and utility terrain vehicles, but shall not include snowmobiles as defined in RSA 215-C or electric bicycles as defined in RSA 259:27-a.

215-A:20 No person shall carry on an OHRV, or a trailer towed by same, any firearms unless said firearm is unloaded. This section shall not apply to law enforcement officers carrying firearms in the course of duty or to pistols carried under a permit issued pursuant to the authority of RSA 159.

Pistol permits
See Title XII Public Safety and Welfare, Chapter 159, Pistols and Revolvers
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XII/159/159-mrg.htm

NH is a shall-issue, constitutional carry state

License to Carry, Section 159:6, eff. July 1, 2019
I. (a) A license shall be issued to an applicant “authorizing the applicant to carry a loaded pistol or revolver in this state for not less than 5 years from the date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property or has any proper purpose, unless the applicant is prohibited by New Hampshire or federal statute from possessing a firearm. Hunting, target shooting, or self-defense shall be considered a proper purpose. The license shall be valid for all allowable purposes regardless of the purpose for which it was originally issued.” III. 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.

Suspension or Revocation of License, Section 159:6-b, eff. Aug. 22, 1979 I. The issuing authority may order a license to carry a loaded pistol or revolver issued to any person pursuant to RSA 159:6 to be suspended or revoked for just cause, provided written notice of the suspension or revocation and the reason therefore is given to the licensee. A licensee whose license has been suspended or revoked shall be permitted a hearing on such suspension or revocation if a hearing is requested by the licensee to the issuing authority within 7 days of the suspension or revocation.
II. When the licensee hereunder ceases to be a resident of the community in which the license was issued he shall notify in writing the issuing authority at his new place of residence that he has a current license. Such license shall remain in effect until it expires pursuant to RSA 159:6.


Concealed pistol or revolver permits issued within the State of NH will be required for residents and non-residents seeking to carry under a reciprocity agreement within another state. NH has reciprocity with over two dozen states, including neighbors Maine and Vermont; however, Massachusetts DOES NOT share reciprocity with NH.

NH resident pistol license application: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/jib/permitslicensing/documents/dssp85.pdf
New Hampshire State Police Licensing & Permits: (603) 271-3575

School Emergency Response Plans
See Title XV Education, Chapter 189, School Boards, Superintendents, Teachers, and Truant Officers; School Census: Emergency Response Plans
https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XV/189/189-64.htm

Emergency Response Plans, Section 189.64, eff. July 14, 2019 I. I. The plan shall provide that at least 4 of the currently required number of fire evacuation drills shall be emergency, all-hazard response drills of which at least one shall test emergency response to an armed assailant. The armed assailant drill may be discussion based.

Shooting Ranges
See Title XII Public Safety and Welfare, Chapter 159-B, Shooting Ranges
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xii/159-b/159-b-mrg.ht

Exemption, Section 159-B:1, eff. May 7, 2004 Notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 644:2, III(a) (see below) or any other law to the contrary, no person who owns, operates, or uses a shooting range in this state shall be subject to civil liability or criminal prosecution in any matter relating to noise or noise pollution, provided that the owners of the range are in compliance with any applicable noise control ordinances in existence at the time the range was established, was constructed, or began operations.

Snowmobiles
See Title XVIII Fish and Game Chapter 215-C, Snowmobiles https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XVIII/215-C/215-C-35.htm

Loaded Firearms Forbidden, Section 215-C:35, eff. July 1, 2006 No person shall carry on a snowmobile, or a trailer towed by same, any firearms unless said firearm is unloaded. This section shall not apply to law enforcement officers carrying firearms in the course of duty or to pistols carried under a permit issued pursuant to the authority of RSA 159.

Stand Your Ground
See Title LXII Criminal Code, Chapter 627, Justification http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXII/627/627-4.htm

Physical Force in Defense of a Person, Section 627:4 , eff. November 13, 2011 II. A person is justified in using deadly force upon another person when he reasonably believes that such other person:
(a) Is about to use unlawful, deadly force against the actor or a third person;
(b) Is likely to use any unlawful force against a person present while committing or attempting to commit a burglary;
(c) Is committing or about to commit kidnapping or a forcible sex offense; or
(d) Is likely to use any unlawful force in the commission of a felony against the actor within such actor’s dwelling or its curtilage. II-a. A person who responds to a threat which would be considered by a reasonable person as likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to the person or to another by displaying a firearm or other means of self-defense with the intent to warn away the person making the threat shall not have committed a criminal act. III. A person is not justified in using deadly force on another to defend himself or herself or a third person from deadly force by the other if he or she knows that he or she and the third person can, with complete safety:
(a) 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
(b) Surrender property to a person asserting a claim of right thereto; or
(c) Comply with a demand that he or she abstain from performing an act which he or she is not obliged to perform; nor is the use of deadly force justifiable when, with the purpose of causing death or serious bodily harm, the person has provoked the use of force against himself or herself in the same encounter; or
(d) If he or she is a law enforcement officer or a private person assisting the officer at the officer’s direction and was acting pursuant to RSA 627:5, the person need not retreat.