If you have a firearm-specific legal issue, whether criminal or civil, it is crucially important that you retain a New Hampshire firearms lawyer so that you obtain sound advice that you can confidently rely upon. State and federal gun laws are not known by most lawyers practicing in other areas. Firearms laws are complex, nuanced and not intuitive. If you have been charged with a firearm-related crime, retaining a knowledgeable attorney at Lehmann Major List, PLLC can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Background Checks and Firearms Prohibitions

When someone purchases a firearm from a dealer, he or she is subject to a background check under federal law, looking to determine if the person is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm. Federal Law has several specific categories of individuals who cannot possess or own firearms. A person is prohibited if he or she:

  • Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year (felony)
  • Is a fugitive from justice
  • Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Has been adjudicated mentally defective or has been committed to a mental institution
  • Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa
  • Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
  • Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his or her citizenship
  • Is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner
  • Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

18 U.S.C. §922(g)&(n); 27 C.F.R. §478.32

Selling Firearms Privately in New Hampshire

Federal Law permits people to sell firearms privately without any record-keeping requirements as long as the private seller is not “engaged in the business” of selling firearms. Buying and selling firearms privately out of a personal collection and without profit motive is perfectly legal so long as sales do not involve out of state residents. Additionally, a person cannot sell to someone that he or she has cause to believe is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.

Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of state, the firearm must be shipped to a federal firearms licensee (FFL) within the transferee’s state of residence. The transferee may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check. A person may loan or rent a firearm to a resident of any state for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, if they do not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under federal law.  Another exception is provided for transfers of firearms to nonresidents to carry out a lawful bequest or acquisition by intestate succession. This exception would authorize the transfer of a firearm to a nonresident who inherits a firearm under the will of a decedent.

New Hampshire law also permits the private selling of firearms without record-keeping requirements. New Hampshire Law does not regulate the private sale of rifles and shotguns, other than to say you cannot sell any firearm to a felon RSA 159:7. For pistols, an unlicensed seller may only sell a handgun to someone who is “personally known to him.”

A New Hampshire attorney can answer specific questions regarding possession, purchasing, selling, and the legal use of firearms.

Selling Ammunition

A person may sell ammunition made by a licensed manufacturer, even for profit, without any sort of license so long as they are not reloading or otherwise manufacturing ammunition for sale. To put it differently, a person may buy ammunition from a shop or manufacturer and then sell it without issue. A person cannot use a reloading press or otherwise assemble components and then sell the resulting cartridges without a manufacturing license. Doing so is a federal felony. 18 U.S.C. §922 (a)(1)(B); 27 CFR §478.41

Appealing a Firearm Transfer Denial

When an individual attempts to purchase a firearm, he or she must undergo a background check. In response to the dealer’s request for the background check, a response of “proceed,” “delay” or “deny” will be received. In New Hampshire, if you seek to purchase a firearm but you are denied by the background check system, there is a specific process for appealing the denial. For a handgun denial, the appeal is typically filed with a division of the New Hampshire Department of Safety known as the Gun Line. Our attorneys have extensive experience with Gun Line appeal process and can help you navigate this otherwise difficult system.

For a denial of a rifle or shotgun purchase or transfer, and appeal is filed directly with the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”). A skilled firearm attorney in New Hampshire can walk you through the filing of a “challenge” with the federal NICS, after ensuring that you are not a prohibited person with some preliminary questions. Depending on the results of the challenge, the mistake will then need to be corrected either in the records of the background check system or with the court or other government agency that has falsely reported the record causing the denial. A dedicated attorney can walk you through this detailed process to help protect your Second Amendment rights.

If it is ultimately determined that your denial was proper based upon a prohibited status, a New Hampshire firearm lawyer can review your specific situation and advise you as to whether there are actions you can take, such as criminal annulment, to restore your Second Amendment rights.

How to Prevent Future Firearm Background Check Delays

If you are experiencing regular delays in relation to the purchase of firearms, a New Hampshire attorney can assist you with filing a Voluntary Appeal File (“VAF”) with the federal NICS. Although the process can take several months, an experienced lawyer can help increase the efficiency of your VAF by making sure all appropriate information is submitted correctly and in the best light possible.

Get in Touch with a Competent Firearms Lawyer in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire firearms lawyers at Lehmann Major List, PLLC are here to assist with all of your firearms-related legal issues. Call to set up a consultation today.