Waiting period to buy a gun?
When it comes to gun laws, New Hampshire is a Constitutional carry state. No license is required to buy, own or carry a firearm. Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers — but not private sellers — to do a background check on the individual who wants to purchase a gun.
Learn more about New Hampshire’s gun laws
In its current session the state Legislature is considering HB 514, a bill that would require a mandatory waiting period of seven days to buy a weapon. The seven days excludes holidays and weekends, meaning the waiting period could extend up to 10 days.
The measure would apply to licensed sellers, including importers, manufacturers, dealers, and collectors.
It does not apply to private sales and to individuals buying a shotgun or rifle who have taken the state’s 16-hour hunter safety course or who already has a valid state hunting license. Nor does the waiting period apply to law enforcement personnel or active duty military.
Pros and cons
Proponents of the legislation cite research that shows a seven-day “cooling off” period can reduce gun violence. They say it pauses impulse-buying motivated by anger or desperation, potentially stopping someone from doing themselves or others harm with a gun.
Opponents, citing the constitutional right to possess firearms, say there is no statistical evidence that a waiting period does, in fact, reduce gun-related incidents. They also say a waiting period puts a person who needs a gun for protection at potential risk.
Should New Hampshire require a seven-day waiting period to buy a gun?
Discussion held on Citizens Count website and Facebook page January 21, 2019
No: 393 people were opposed to a seven-day waiting period for a gun purchase.
- “This is a useless measure that does nothing but separate people in need of the ability to defend themselves from the means to do so.”
- “No. A right delayed, is a right denied. Did you see the bill also has a 7 day wait on buying ammo, and creates a gun and ammo sales registry? Hell no.”
- “No. I'm a law abiding citizen that can legally possess a firearm. Why do I need to wait to purchase a firearm.”
Yes: 31 people were in favor of a seven-day waiting period for a gun purchase.
- “If you want something that bad, you can wait a week.”
- “A 7 day wait is no big deal. Took longer to get my passport. If it prevents criminals and mentally ill from getting guns, why not?”
- “Yes. The 7 day time period will give state employees time to do their jobs efficiently. If you don't have any deniable offenses you should have nothing to worry about and waiting a few days won't kill you, unlike a firearm transferred to someone who shouldn't have it.”
Other: 26 people commented on related questions and issues instead.
- Political ramifications: “Any politician who votes for this is willfully touching a political third rail. Kiss their career goodbye.”
- Alternative proposals: “I think if someone is buying a gun for the first time then there should be a wait and no rush. But if someone already has a number of them and is just buying something for a collection then waiting is meaningless.”
- Effectiveness of background check system: “I have to mention about a parent who gave a gun to an adult child, who should never even have a gun. She is a mental case. So much for back ground check.”
*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.