The New Hampshire Senate passed Senate Bill 116, which would repeal the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver, bringing the state’s firearms carry law in line with neighboring Vermont. The bill was passed earlier by the New Hampshire House, so it will now go to the desk of Governor Maggie Hassan…who has promised to veto it, in a statement from her official website . . .
New Hampshire’s current concealed carry permitting law has worked well for nearly a century – ensuring the Second Amendment rights of our citizens while helping to keep the Granite State one of the safest states in the nation. Law enforcement, as well as citizens across New Hampshire, have strong public safety concerns about allowing people to carry concealed guns without a license and oppose removing the protections that the licensing process offers to help ensure that potentially dangerous individuals are not allowed to carry hidden weapons.
Our permitting system gives an important oversight role to local law enforcement, while allowing for appeals through appropriate channels. In his book Live Free or Die, Republican Governor Mel Thomson said that the current permitting process for concealed carry is ‘a sensible handgun law that leaves the issuance of handgun permits to the discretion of [local law enforcement]’. That is as true today as it was then. By passing Senate Bill 116, the legislature would be taking a step away from our tradition of common-sense gun laws, and I intend to veto this measure if it passes.”
NOTE: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that New Hampshire was a ‘shall issue’ state. In 2014, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in Doyon v. Hooksett P.D.,
RSA 159:6 does not define the term ‘suitable person’ for purposes of determining who may be licensed to carry a loaded pistol or revolver. However, we have construed the term to give some measure of discretion to the issuing authority to deny an application if it deems the applicant to be unsuitable.
The author regrets the error. Thanks to S. Olsen of the Women’s Defense League of N.H. (and others) for pointing out the error.