By Evan F. Nappen, Esq.
Concord, NH –-(Ammoland.com)- A recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decision (State of NH v. Oriol Dor, decided 8/7/2013) has ruled that in order for a handgun to be considered “loaded” under New Hampshire’s RSA 159:4, thereby requiring a valid license, the handgun must either have a round in the gun’s chamber or have a loaded magazine IN the gun.
The court stated as follows:
“On May 8, 2012, police searched the defendant’s vehicle and found a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol adjacent to a loaded magazine in the vehicle’s glove compartment. The pistol did not have a cartridge in the chamber or a magazine in the magazine well. The State charged the defendant with a class A misdemeanor for “knowingly carry[ing] a loaded pistol as defined in RSA 159:4 in a vehicle without a valid license….” The defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that “[t]he firearm at issue was not loaded and therefore no license was required and no crime was committed.”… Accordingly, we hold that in order for a pistol or revolver to be considered “loaded” within the meaning of RSA 159:4, the pistol or revolver must contain a cartridge in the chamber or must contain a magazine, cylinder, or clip inserted in or otherwise adjoined to the firearm such that the firearm can be discharged through normal operation.”
In other words, a handgun can now be carried concealed on one’s person or in a motor vehicle WITHOUT a New Hampshire License to Carry a Loaded Pistol or Revolver as long as there is no round in the pistol’s chamber and there is no loaded magazine IN the pistol (or rounds in a revolver’s cylinder).
Here are some examples of how handguns can now be lawfully carried in New Hampshire without a New Hampshire License to Carry a Loaded Pistol or Revolver.
- Example 1. A semi-automatic handgun with no loaded magazine in the gun and no round in the chamber is in a belt holster and it is being carried concealed (e.g., by a jacket, shirt, vest, etc.). A magazine pouch with a loaded magazine is also being carried concealed on the belt. A person can now draw the handgun, insert the magazine in the gun and rack the slide, and it does not require a license, as long as it is not loaded within a vehicle. Once the gun is produced it no longer concealed, it is merely being open carried, which also does not require a license. Note: Before replacing the gun in the holster and concealing it, there must not be a loaded magazine in the gun and the gun can not have a round in the chamber.
- Example 2. A semi-automatic handgun with no loaded magazine in the gun and no round in the chamber is in a purse. A loaded magazine is also carried in the purse but not in the handgun. A person can now draw the handgun out of the purse, insert the loaded magazine into the gun and rack the slide, and it does not require a license, as long as it is not loaded within a vehicle. Once the gun is produced it no longer concealed, it is merely being open carried, which also does not require a license. Note: Before replacing the gun in the purse, there must be not be a loaded magazine in the gun and the gun can not have a round in the chamber.
- Example 3. A semi-automatic handgun with no loaded magazine in the gun and no round in the chamber is in a motor vehicle’s glove box. A loaded magazine is also carried in the glove box but not in the handgun. A person can now take the handgun and the loaded magazine out of the glove box, get outside of the motor vehicle, and once outside of the vehicle, put the loaded magazine in the gun and rack the slide, and it does not require a license. At this point the gun is no longer loaded in a motor vehicle, it is merely being open carried, which also does not require a license. Note: Before reentering the motor vehicle, there must be not be a loaded magazine in the gun and the gun can not have a round in the chamber.
Note: The above examples also apply to an unloaded revolver and a loaded speedloader in the same manner as an unloaded pistol and a loaded magazine.
Editor’s note: Pro-Gun New Hampshire has always believed this to be how the NH law should be interpreted, but now it is official, supported by case law.
About Pro-Gun New Hampshire
Pro-Gun New Hampshire is a statewide organization of legislators, other public officials, and private citizens pledged to support and defend Second Amendment and sportsmen’s rights within the state of New Hampshire. Our focus is on influencing state legislation through the personal relationships, honorable reputations, and mature conduct of our leadership and members. Visit: www.pgnh.org
Oh how I do love this amazing state. In response to a comment above me…Let me say this… In 2007 and in 2008 I was caught with a small amount of marijuana. Both were class B misdemeanors. Shortly thereafter I stopped using it all together. As a direct result of those two convictions, the local chief of police will not issue me a carry permit. He claims I’m not a “suitable person”. I have 5 daughters ranging from 2 years old to 15 years old. The well-being and safety of my girls is of the utmost importance to me. I… Read more »
I take it that the same would apply for the revolver if you removed the cylinder. It that correct?
Well bob some people will break the law and pull out a gun maybe before you could and harm you but that’s how it is in every state.
Most people that have a hidden concealed weapon would have a permit and wouldent make sense as to why they would wanna just randomly attack someone
Okay, so you CAN secretly carry a useless weapon. My question is WHY would you go through the trouble of carrying something that does you no practical good and may even get you shot by someone with a weapon that IS ready to fire?
Much better interpretation than I expected. Finally, someone on the courts with some common sense and an understanding of the Constitution as written.
Just don’t carry your pistol that way going through the Empire of New York. Otherwise, that magazine or speed loader can not be in passenger compartment of the vehicle at the same time the gun is.
I FEEL SO GREAT TO FIGHT FOR WHAT’S RIGHT FOR ME AND THOSE WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO DO IT …
this is the way California was a couple of years ago. look at them now
I LOVE MY HOME!!! New Hampshire! LIVE FREE OR DIE!!!