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New Hampshire’s hate and gun laws have significant gaps that allow people convicted of violent hate crimes to keep and access guns, including assault weapons, under state law, though hate crime convictions in the state generally trigger federal firearm restrictions.

Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in New Hampshire
Violence with Severe Bodily InjuryViolence with Bodily InjuryOther Crimes Involving Intentional Use of ForceThreats with Deadly Weapons
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
Federal LawVery limited or no accessVery limited or no accessVery limited or no accessVery limited or no access
Very limited or no access
State LawVery limited or no accessSome accessSignificant accessSome access
Significant access

New Hampshire law authorizes judges to impose extended prison sentences for people convicted of hate crimes, if it is proven that the defendant was “substantially motivated to commit the [underlying] crime because of hostility towards the victim’s religion, race, creed, sexual orientation . . . national origin, sex, or gender identity.”1 (Disability and ethnicity are not included as protected categories). This sentencing enhancement statute makes hate crime misdemeanors punishable by up to five years imprisonment.2

Federal law generally prohibits people from accessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years.3 State law in New Hampshire prohibits firearm access by people convicted of felonies, but does not restrict those convicted of violent misdemeanors, including hate crimes, from accessing guns for any period of time.4New Hampshire’s hate crime sentencing law makes misdemeanor hate crime convictions punishable by up to five years, so people convicted of these offenses are subject to firearm restrictions under federal but not state law.

New Hampshire generally classifies violent crimes as firearm-prohibiting felonies if they involve serious bodily injury, bodily injury with a deadly weapon,5 or criminal threats involving use of a deadly weapon to make criminal threats.6

However, people convicted of violent hate crime misdemeanors are not restricted from accessing guns under state law, including those convicted of violently injuring a hate crime victim,7 stalking,8 or making credible threats of violence without using a deadly weapon.9


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  1. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 651:6(I)(f). A defendant may receive this extended prison sentence if written notice of the potential sentence is given to the defendant at least 21 days prior to the commencement of jury selection for the trial. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 651:6(III).[]
  2. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 651:6(III)(b).N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 625:9(III)(b).[]
  3. 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).[]
  4. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:3. See also, N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:7.[]
  5. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 631:1(I) (felony “First degree assault”); 631:2(I) (felony “Second degree assault”).[]
  6. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 631:4(II)(a) (felony “Criminal threatening”). See also, State v. Kousounadis, 159 N.H. 413, 433 (2009) (brandishing a firearm constitutes “use”).[]
  7. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 631:2-a(I)(a) (misdemeanor “Simple assault”).[]
  8. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 633:3-a (misdemeanor “Stalking”). []
  9. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 631:4(II)(b) (misdemeanor “Criminal threatening”).[]