New Hampshire Eliminates Concealed-Carry Gun Licenses
Gun owners in New Hampshire can now carry concealed loaded weapons without a license. The state joins 10 others with unrestricted concealed-carry policies, but there are critics of the new ruling.
“It is common-sense legislation,” Governor Chris Sununu (R) said at a ceremony marking the legislative change Wednesday. “This is about safety.”
The Republican governor said that, under the bill, “New Hampshire citizens are guaranteed the fundamental right to carry a firearm in defense of themselves and their families, as prescribed by Article 2a in our state constitution.”
Republicans in control of the state legislature have sought to repeal the licensing requirement in recent years, but former Governor Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, consistently vetoed the change, saying it weakened public safety.
The head of the state Democratic Party criticized Sununu for making the bill such a priority.
“The governor claims concealed carry is about ‘safety,’ but he is making it harder for law enforcement officials to keep track of guns that fall into the wrong hands,” Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement, according to the Concord Monitor. “New Hampshire has imminent issues that need the governor’s attention, but further relaxing the state’s notoriously lax gun laws is not one of them.”
New Hampshire is already an open-carry state, meaning anyone who legally owns a gun can carry it exposed without any license or permit. In the past, gun owners had to apply for a concealed-carry license with their local police chiefs, who determined whether applicants were “suitable.”
The license comes up for renewal every four years and is one of the only times gun owners in the state undergo a review process after initially purchasing a firearm.