RUMOR CONTROL: New Hampshire

Editor's Note, September 2010: Laws and rules change. While the author sought to ensure accuracy at the time this article was published, it is incumbent upon the reader to verify any potential changes since then.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is no longer being updated by the author and will become increasingly out-dated.

There has been discussion as to whether the New Hampshire non-resident pistol/revolver permit is accepted in states outside of New Hampshire.

Though first reported to me in late December, 2008, this issue has since been resolved with the New Hampsire Department of Safety, Division of State Police. New Hampshire Non-Resident Pistol/ Revolver Permits ARE valid in states other than New Hampshire. See the main body of this article for discussion of which states accept it.

Except for the addition of the author's notes at the top and bottom, I have left this "RUMOUR CONTROL" section intact, to show the efforts taken to resolve the problem, the logic and resources applied in the arguments, the level of effort it can take to stay on top of these issues, and to give credit where credit is due, for the final results. What follows was originally drafted in the months of January and February of 2009. What has since transpired, along with the resolution, appears at the end of this section.

The discussion centers around the following statement found on the New Hampshire web site. I have added the bold emphasis to highlight the portion in question:

"PLEASE NOTE: The State of New Hampshire will only recognize resident concealed handgun licenses from these states. Concealed handgun licenses issued by the State of New Hampshire to out-of-state residents are ONLY valid within the State of New Hampshire."

The above statement can be found at the following New Hampshire web link:

The first sentence in the statement, that New Hampshire will only recognize resident licenses from other states, is enforceable by New Hampshire, within the borders of the state of New Hampshire. This has already been recognized and pointed out, along with other states which by statute, do not honor non-resident licenses/permits - Colorado (CO), Florida (FL), Michigan (MI), and South Carolina (SC). However, the second sentence in the statement above, can be misleading.

It is a function of the state you are visiting, to determine which licenses/permits they will honor, either by statute (law) of the state you are visiting, or by the specific wording of a reciprocity agreement entered into and signed, between that state and the state issuing the license. One state can not otherwise impose it's will upon another sovereign state.

We need only limit our examination of whether a state does or does not choose to honor the New Hampshire Non-Resident Pistol/Revolver Permit, to the states other than those already covered by the Ohio Concealed Handgun License. Following are the information I've been able to find, regarding Alabama (AL), Georgia (GA), Louisiana (LA), Mississippi (MS), North Dakota (ND), and Pennsylvania (PA).

ALABAMA – See the following web site:

This page contains the following section wherein the question of non-resident licenses is addressed. The question appears below in italics. The relevant portions of the response have been highlighted in bold.


Will Alabama honor a non-resident concealed handgun license in addition to honoring the concealed handgun licenses issued to a resident of one of the states that recognizes and honors Alabama concealed handgun licenses?

Alabama issues concealed handgun licenses only to residents of Alabama, through the
Sheriff of their county of residence.

Some states, with whom we have reciprocal recognition of concealed handgun licenses, issue handgun licenses not only to residents of their state but also issue "non-resident" concealed handgun licenses to residents of other states.

At the present time, Act 2001-494 does not on its face specifically address the issue of Alabama's recognition of a non-resident handgun license issued by a state with which Alabama has reciprocal recognition of concealed handgun licenses. Nor is there a formal Attorney General's Opinion, or Alabama case law on this subject. If an Alabama law enforcement agency requests and receives an official Attorney General's Opinion that opinion will be available to the public on our web site under the menu item titled "AG Opinions."

Until the Legislature, or a Court of competent jurisdiction, or an "official" Attorney General's Opinion addresses this question, our office's "unofficial opinion" is that, at this time, Alabama will honor non-resident concealed handgun licenses from a state which recognizes handgun licenses issued to Alabama residents. Since this is a new area of law and subject to change, we do urge caution. It is suggested that persons whose state of residence does not recognize Alabama concealed handgun licenses periodically check our web site and the web site of the state that issues their non-resident concealed handgun license, as well as being aware of news stories and court cases on the subject.

GEORGIA – See the following relevant portions of Georgia law:

O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126 (2008)

(f) On and after October 1, 1996, a person licensed to carry a handgun in any state whose laws recognize and give effect within such state to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a handgun in this state, but only while the licensee is not a resident of this state; provided, however, that such license holder shall carry the handgun in compliance with the laws of this state.

LOUISIANA – See the following relevant portions of Louisiana law:

R.S. 40:1379.3(T)(2) – "A non-resident concealed handgun permit issued by another state is invalid in the state of Louisiana if issued to an individual who is a resident of this state and has been denied a handgun permit or has been issued a handgun permit which is under revocation or suspension."

It seems Louisiana's own residents can not carry, in Louisiana, on any other state's non-resident license or permit. However, if you are not a resident of Louisiana, the above limitation regarding non-resident permits does not apply. I can find no other references to invalidate a non-resident license or permit, in Louisiana law.

MISSISSIPPI – Research is still in progress.

Several sites suggest that Mississippi does honor a New Hampshire non-resident permit. An inquiry has been sent to the state, but a definitive response is still pending.

NORTH DAKOTA – See the following:

This web page makes the statement "Reciprocity with North Dakota is at the discretion of the other state."

New Hampshire, though listed as a state having reciprocity with North Dakota, bears the following footnote:

[1]This state imposes additional requirements (for example, age, residency, and criminal record or weapons provisions) that limit or prohibit reciprocity for certain individuals. To ensure full compliance, check with this state.

Seeking clarification, I sent an email to the North Dakota State Police / Highway Patrol (the license-issuing authority, for North Dakota.) The State Police, either unwilling or unable to answer the question themselves, took the unprecedented course of forwarding my inquiry on to the Attorney General's office. Here was their response:

Office of Attorney General - Response to email
Thursday, February 5, 2009 6:04 PM
From: "Brocker, Liz" < [email protected] >

ND Office of Attorney General
Wayne Stenehjem, Attorney General

I am responding on behalf of the Attorney General to your e-mail, originally sent to the ND State Highway Patrol but forwarded by them to this office for response.

Your e-mail indicates that you understand NH will not honor any non-resident permits but their own, and you inquire if ND will honor a non-resident permit issued by NH. Your e-mail to the Highway Patrol stated that you have been unable to obtain clarification from this office. Unfortunately, the Attorney General and his staff are prohibited by law from providing legal advice or legal assistance to members of the public - we may only serve as legal advisors to state agencies and officials, state's attorneys, and certain city officials. However, I offer the following information for your convenience:

As stated on our website, "reciprocity is a two-way agreement, requiring both states to recognize each other's permit." You note that our website also contains a footnote indicating NH imposes additional requirements that limit or prohibit reciprocity. Before determining whether ND can recognize a non-resident NH permit, it is necessary for you to determine whether NH will recognize a non-resident ND permit. If there are no restrictions or prohibitions against doing so, then recognition would be two-way and reciprocity would be possible. Your e-mail indicates that you have already determined that New Hampshire will not recognize any non-resident permit but its own.

I hope you find this explanation helpful.

Liz Brocker
Executive Assistant/PIO
ND Office of Attorney General
(701) 328-2210
[email protected]

In essence, North Dakota lets the other states' limitations (in this case, New Hampshire's) dictate the limitations in the terms of reciprocity. Because New Hampshire, by law, can not accept another states' non- resident license, NH extends reciprocity only to North Dakota resident licenses. Because New Hampshire can not honor a North Dakota non-resident license, North Dakota will not honor the New Hampshire non- resident license.

PENNSYLVANIA – See the following relevant portions of the actual reciprocity agreement between New Hampshire and Pennsylvania:

The "stated purpose" of the reciprocity agreement between New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, signed 10/18/04, is " extend reciprocal concealed firearm permit/license privileges TO THE CITIZENS OF [emphasis added] the State of New Hampshire and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania". However, the actual articles of the agreement detail what is actually being agreed to. Of those, Article 1 states:

"The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will recognize valid New Hampshire permits to carry concealed firearms by valid permit holders while said permit holders are present in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

Likewise, the letter discussed earlier, dated July 16, 2007, from Colonel Jeffrey B. Miller, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, addressed to The Honorable Phyllis Mundy of the House of Representatives for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, further reinforces the assertion here, that Pennsylvania WILL honor a New Hampshire Non-Resident Pistol/Revolver Permit.

Unlike the situation with North Dakota, where North Dakota applies the same restrictions on acceptance of a non-resident license or permit of the reciprocating state as that state does, Pennsylvania appears in all respects to honor both the resident and non-resident licenses of states with which it has a signed reciprocity agreement.

IT IS WORTH REMEMBERING - AL, GA, LA, MS, ND, and PA will all honor the PA non-resident license. If you doubt the validity of the NH Non-Resident Pistol/Revolver Permit in these states, and can not obtain definitive answers in response to your inquiries, remember that you do have options.

While I was performing the above research, sending and receiving emails, making phone calls, and discussing this issue with relevant government agencies, it seems that this very publication found its way to the attention of Mr. Sam Cohen, Executive Vice-President of "Pro-Gun New Hampshire" (, an organization chartered to defend the gun rights of New Hampshire's citizens.

Working through his contacts, and concurrent to my own efforts, Mr. Cohen was able to bring the problem to the attention of the right people (at times leveraging portions of my own research published here), and get the misleading wording on the New Hampshire web page corrected. He then contacted Buckeye Firearms Association to advise us of what us was able to achieve!

As of the May 2009 release of this publication, the New Hampshire web page now reads as follows:

"PLEASE NOTE : The State of New Hampshire will only recognize resident concealed handgun licenses from these states. Concealed handgun licenses issued by the State of New Hampshire to out-of-state residents are ONLY valid within the State of New Hampshire or within a state other than the licensee's home state that reciprocally recognizes New Hampshire nonresident concealed carry licenses."

That's better than what was originally there, in that it no longer claims the non-resident permit is ONLY valid in New Hampshire. But as Mr. Cohen comments in an email to me: "Yes, you have to wonder what bureaucratic thinking went into THAT convoluted phrasing!" I couldn't agree more.

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.