Buying Ammo and Guns in New Hampshire

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

In this piece, we discuss the ammunition and firearms laws that apply in the state of New Hampshire. To do so, this piece starts off with ammunition laws, with a focus on the legal requirements to have ammunition shipped to a residential address within the state. Then, the piece turns to the gun laws, first examining the legal processes to purchase firearms in NH, and then the rules around the carriage of firearms in New Hampshire. To wrap things up, the piece concludes with some resources that we think you will find handy if you plan to legally buy, own, and carry guns and ammo in the state.

This piece is not intended as legal advice. Instead, we hope that you use the information here to make your own, informed decisions.

New Hampshire, like most states, has preemption. This means that the state’s laws mandate that localities such as counties, cities, and towns cannot make or enforce firearms laws that are stricter than those at the state level. Preemption makes owning guns in New Hampshire a little simpler because once you understand state gun and ammo laws, that understanding can guide your actions in the entire state.

New Hampshire’s gun laws are among the most lax in the nation: this is uncharacteristic of the Northeast as a region, and it is arguably the most permissive state in the area in terms of ammunition and firearms laws. Most of the rules and regulations for buying ammunition and firearms in the state come from the federal level.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in New Hampshire 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of the state.

New Hampshire has permissive ammunition laws, as the state does not have a blanket ban on any type of ammunition. Thus, purchasing ammo in the state is governed by federal regulations.

The ATF has two sets of requirements for purchasing ammunition. The first is an age requirement: buyers have to be eighteen years of age to buy ammo for long guns such as shotguns and rifles, and at least twenty-one to buy handgun ammunition.

Secondly, ammo buyers cannot be prohibited persons. The ATF defines prohibited persons as those who have been convicted of domestic violence or a felony, people who have been found mentally unfit in a court, and people who have been involuntarily committed for treatment at an inpatient mental health facility.

Assuming that the buyer meets those requirements, the New Hampshire state government is fine with having ammunition shipped to a residential address within the state. Do keep in mind that carriers can and do sometimes impose additional rules, such as asking for someone with a valid ID to be present to sign for packages containing ammunition.

Since New Hampshire does not impose regulations in addition to those that come from the federal government, the ammunition laws in New Hampshire are among the most permissive in the country.

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in New Hampshire 

Next, we will do the same exercise for New Hampshire gun laws.

New Hampshire is unusually permissive for a state in the Northeast when it comes to purchasing firearms. There is no state-level ban on magazines. Neither is there a ban on assault weapons, which most states in the region have, defining assault weapons by name or by drawing up a list of features. New Hampshire is also fine with their residents owning NFA items such as machine guns, suppressors, and short-barreled rifles and shotguns.

The process for purchasing a firearm from an FFL in New Hampshire follows federal guidelines. The prospective buyer should bring both a valid form of identification as well as their payment to the gun store. There, the FFL will have the buyer fill out ATF’s Form 4473 to do a background check and make a record of the purchase. Once the background check clears and the payment has been accepted, the buyer can leave with their firearm on the same day. New Hampshire does not impose additional waiting periods on gun purchases.

The state does not mandate that people selling firearms privately conduct background checks on the buyers. With that said, it is always wise to ensure that the buyer meets the age requirements mandated by federal law, and is not a prohibited person.

Carrying firearms in New Hampshire is very permissive as well: the state allows for permitless carriage of firearms, whether openly or concealed. There is a slight exception to this, likely to prevent poaching of game animals: the state forbids long guns from being carried openly inside of a vehicle. 

Like most states with permitless carry, New Hampshire continues to issue concealed carry permits. The primary benefit of these permits is that they allow people to carry firearms in other states, though, in the case of New Hampshire, few states in the region recognize anyone else’s permits. For those who travel the country more broadly, a New Hampshire permit is fairly useful. 

Every state has certain places where firearms cannot be carried at all, and New Hampshire is no exception. In this state, guns cannot be carried in:

  • Courtrooms

  • Federal Property 

This statutory list above is among the shortest in the country. Keep in mind that other places that are private property, such as churches, casinos, and hospitals can generally forbid firearms as long as there is signage posted or warnings given.

New Hampshire is home to one of Sig Sauer’s major American corporate facilities: with their new awarding of massive US Military contracts, Sig USA’s presence is likely to only expand in the future.

Overall, New Hampshire is one of the most permissive states in the country in terms of its gun laws. For instance, its list of places where firearms are not permitted is shorter than even some very permissive states. While its gun attitudes are certainly a departure from many of its neighbors, the sheer permissiveness of the firearm and ammo laws in the state stick close to the Constitution. 

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in New Hampshire 

Good news for gun buyers: New Hampshire has a state tax rate of 0% on most sales, including firearms. Additionally, the state does not impose additional, specific taxes on guns and ammo. This is uncommon, and results in substantial savings for New Hampshire gun buyers. 

More Resources

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including in New Hampshire. This list can be used to find local gun stores, which are usually either Type One or Type Two FFLs. 

  • is an excellent tool for finding ranges that are convenient for you. Use the mileage, city, and zip code filters to find ranges in New Hampshire, or anywhere else in the country.  Users can add new ranges, too, and the information is frequently checked for accuracy. 

  • There are a number of well-rated gun stores in the state.

  • There is a somewhat active Facebook Group for New Hampshire Gun Owners that focuses on the events hosted by local retailers, as well as relevant political happenings in the state.

New Hampshire Gun Law FAQ:

The state of New Hampshire does not prevent people from having ammo shipped to residential addresses in the state. The buyer has to meet age requirements (18 for rifle and shotgun ammo, 21 for handgun ammo) and cannot be a prohibited person. Also, the carrier might well ask for someone with a valid ID to be present to sign for a package containing ammunition.

The state does not impose waiting periods on gun purchases, and you can buy most guns in the state and leave with them on the same day. Of course, NFA items like suppressors that require a lot of Federal-level paperwork will take however long the ATF decides. 

New Hampshire allows for permitless carry, whether open or concealed. The state does still offer its concealed carry permits, which are recognized in a fair number of states. Many other states in the region do not recognize any state’s permit other than their own.

Surprisingly, it is one of the most gun-friendly states to be found in the USA. This is especially surprising given its geography: many states in the Northeast are extremely anty-gun. New Hampshire and a small number of other states, however, stick closer to federal guidelines without making gun ownership overly restrictive. 

New Hampshire’s state laws allow for open carriage of firearms, and they do not require a permit to do so. However, it is not legal to openly carry a long gun in a vehicle while the aforementioned long gun is loaded. This is likely to keep people from violating both poaching laws and ordinances about shooting within a certain distance of people and their property. So, yes, open carry is legal but it is very much against the law to poach deer from the inside of a vehicle.