Some people may not think they need to worry about self-defense in New Hampshire but with it’s growing and changing population the need for one to be able to protect one’s self grows stronger and stronger every day.
The good news is New Hampshire allows its residents to have the tools they need to defend themselves. This isn’t much of a surprise given the state’s motto is ‘Live free or die’.
Common weapons that are readily available in the market are:
• Taser/Stun Guns
• Pepper Spray
• Tactical Pens
Knives are Legal in New Hampshire
New Hampshire does not restrict the possession of knives by law-abiding citizens. There is no specific law forbidding the ownership of a knife and it is legal to own any type of knife, as long as you are not a convicted felon. Yes, even machetes are legal.
It would only be illegal for a person to carry a knife if a person who has been convicted of a felony against the person or property of another or of a felony drug-related offense to possess a:
• Dirk or dagger
• Switchblade knife
In addition, the laws governing the
159:16 Carrying or Selling Weapons. Whoever, except as provided by the laws of this state, sells, has in his possession with intent to sell, or carries on his person any [stiletto, switch knife,] blackjack, [dagger, dirk-knife,] slungshot, or metallic knuckles shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and such weapon or articles so carried by him shall be confiscated to the use of the state.
Firearms are Legal in New Hampshire
New Hampshire gun laws operate on an Unrestricted” and “Shall Issue” policy, the latter being used for reciprocity. There are no laws restricting the age at which a person can carry firearms. A license is not required to open or conceal carry. For those that require a permit there are separate forms for residents and non-residents. Residents apply to the county sheriff’s office and non-residents to the State Department of Justice.
New Hampshire has “Permitless Carry.” If you can legally possess a firearm then you may carry it concealed in those states without a Permit/License.
New Hampshire Gun Laws
Concealed carry permits/licenses are issued by The Department of Public Safety through the local Police/Sheriff for residents and New Hampshire State Police for non-residents.
NO – Must Inform Officer on Contact By Law
There is nothing in New Hampshire gun laws that states you must inform a law enforcement officer you have a firearm when approached on official business. We always recommend that you carry photo ID, at all times during which you are in actual possession of a concealed handgun. Although that is not a legal requirement in New Hampshire.
There are no restrictions on vehicle carry. A lot of information around the web regarding vehicle carry pre-dates the new 2017 laws. Below is the latest law that clearly says you can carry a gun in a vehicle.
159:6 License to Carry.
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, non-resident, or alien if that individual is not otherwise prohibited by statute from possessing a firearm in the state of New Hampshire.
YES – Without a Permit/License
Open or concealed carry without a permit/license in New Hampshire is legal.
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Courtroom or area used by a court
Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.
Title 12 § 159:19 Courtroom Security
All areas of the state except those in the Off-Limits section
It’s not illegal in New Hampshire for minors (under age 18) to have firearms. However, if you sell, give, or loan a handgun to a minor, you can be charged with a misdemeanor unless you are:
• the child’s parent, grandparent, or guardian
• an executor or administrator transferring a gun to heirs of an estate
• legally hunting with the young person, or
• supervising the minor during a firearms training program (with parental permission) or a legal shooting event.
It’s also a misdemeanor to provide minor with a martial arts weapons unless you’re the child’s parent, you have the parent’s written consent, or you’re transferring the weapon to heirs of an estate. You may be cited with a violation (and fined up to $1,000) if you store a gun in a place where you know that a child under age 16 is likely to get to it, but only if the child actually gets a hold of the weapon and uses it in a reckless or threatening way, fires it recklessly, or uses it while committing a crime. Even if that happens, you won’t be fined if one of several exceptions applies, including when the child got the weapon by breaking into your home, or you kept the gun in a secure, locked place. (N.H. Stat. §§ 159:12, 159:24, 650-C:1 (2019).)
Although New Hampshire doesn’t outlaw gun possession by domestic violence offenders, state law does require that domestic violence protection orders prohibit the defendants from having any firearms or other deadly weapons as long as the orders are in effect. Anyone who knowingly violates one of these orders may be charged with a class A misdemeanor.
You may also be charged with a class A misdemeanor if you have a firearm or other dangerous weapon while you’re committing a violent crime. The same is true for possession of a stun gun or Taser when you intend to commit a crime, although penalties are increased if you meant to commit a felony.
Finally, it’s a misdemeanor for anyone to have a blackjack, a slungshot, or metal knuckles. (N.H. Stat. §§ 159:3, 159:15, 159:16, 159:21, 159:23, 173-B:5, 173-B:9, 625:11 (2019).)
Taser/ Stun Guns are Legal in New Hampshire
It’s illegal in New Hampshire to have a gun or other deadly weapon if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony drug crime or a felony against a person or property. The state also prohibits any felons from possessing stun guns and Tasers outside of their homes. Violations are punished as a class B felony.
Pepper Spray is Legal in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, pepper spray can be carried concealed without any restriction or permit. Carrying pepper spray concealed means no one can see it, but it is still accessible to you in a pocket or purse. Even though carrying pepper spray is legal in the state, there are still some places, like federal buildings, where it may be prohibited.
Places Where Pepper Spray is Prohibited
The state government may choose to prohibit pepper spray on its property and in government buildings. New Hampshire has no jurisdiction over federal government buildings. Federal buildings may prohibit pepper spray even if state buildings do not.
Related: 10 Awesome Self Defense Weapons
Tactical Pens are Legal in New Hampshire
A tactical pen, much like a tactical knife or an EDC Pen, is an often-overlooked piece of everyday carry gear that could very well save your life one day, or at the very least provide you with the means to jot down your ideas or notes. Tactical pens typically feature heavy-duty machined metal construction, are outfitted with pressurized ink cartridges, and fit easily in your pocket, shirt, or on your belt with your other tactical gear.
There are no specific laws for tactical pens, but in reference to the laws in New Hampshire – as long as you are not a convicted felon, then you can own a tactical pen.