CITIZEN VOICES® Waiting period to buy a gun?

Jan 21, 2019

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.​

Some exceptions​

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

450 citizens responded393 citizens were opposed to a seven-day waiting period for gun purchases31 citizens were in favor of a seven-day waiting period for gun purchases26 citizens commented on related questions or issues

What Participants Said

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.
These included:

  • 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.

See additional comments on this question from Facebook


Chuck Malias
- Manchester

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 8:23am

Of course. I'd extend this to 30 days. Maybe even 90. It's a sad indictment of our gun culture that this article explains that the waiting period could extend up to *10 days* because of holidays or weekends. Oh no, 10 whole days without your precious gun?

Francis Murzyn
- Merrimack

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 10:12am

No......we go through the system every time we make a purchase. I CCW with a permit not constitutional carry, my background was checked. I take classes in firearm training, yep you guessed it, a background check. If someone wants to do someone harm that bad, seven days will not make a difference. They will find other means to obtain or another weapon.

Jason Hallman
- Chichester

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 5:15pm

No every thing that we go through now is enough its not the good citizens that are doing any of this why punish them its people that were criminals before they even got the gun

Richard Olson

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 11:12pm

A Solution in search of a Problem. None of the sponsors have pointed to any existing crime levels to support the necessity of passing this law. The prime sponsor is an anti-second amendment legislator who sponsors model legislation crafted in other states and disingenuously shepherds it as her own. NH does not need a waiting period and there is no justification for one outside of whittling away at 2A rights with incremental restrictions little by little.

Mark Holland
- Nashua

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 4:55pm

I strongly oppose HB 514, An Act Imposing a Waiting Period Between the Purchase and Delivery of a Firearm. Imposing a 7 business day waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm or ammunition will have no significant impact on gun safety or gun-related violence in our state, as the bill requires no additional action be taken beyond the federally mandated NICS background check already required for firearms purchases. Consequently the waiting period represents nothing more than another obstacle legal gun owners will be forced to overcome in order to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

More troubling is the provision that would require dealers and manufacturers to make available records of firearm and ammunition sales to any state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency with no requirement to show that they are investigating a crime or need to obtain a search warrant. This may well be a violation of due process.

To me, the motivation behind this bill is questionable. It appears it is intended to produce a chilling effect on the legitimate exercise of Second Amendment rights by law abiding gun owners rather than a legitimate attempt to reduce violent crime in our state. New Hampshire has a long history as both a pro-gun state and a state with very low levels of violence, especially gun-related violence. The FBI’s annual “Crime in the United States” Report indicates New Hampshire had the second best (lowest) gun-related homicide rate in the United States in 2016 (the latest available data). In fact the FBI report shows New Hampshire consistently has an extraordinarily low rate of gun violence, with just 6 gun-related homicides in 2011, 9 in 2012, 5 in 2013, 6 in 2014, 8 in 2015 and 8 in 2016.

Given these facts, bills such as HB 514 are not needed. This bill will not significantly impact the safety of our citizens by reducing gun violence, as gun violence is already vanishingly small in our state. However it will have an inordinate impact legal gun owners, further eroding their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Tony Lekas
- Hudson

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 12:14am

No. There is no evidence that this would reduce criminal use of firearms. This is just another in a long list of laws that make firearm ownership more difficult for the law abiding.

Joe Failla
- Northfield

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 6:49am


Shawn Perry
- Union

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 2:48am

No. Nothing in this legislation will prohibit a criminal from obtaining a firearm as most of them obtain them through other means. This will only further infringe on law abiding citizens on something that shouldn't be infringed on in the first place.

Dennis Pereira
- Barrington

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 12:39pm

I lived in California for 25 years (CA has a 10 day waiting period for gun purchases). The waiting period places an undue infringement upon firearms purchasers, deprives armed protection for people who need it immediately and there is NO statistical evidence that it reduces gun violence! Everyone who buys a gun from a licensed dealer must already pass a background check, that’s safe enough for our State, as is evidenced by NH’s low gun violence rate. This is just politicians posturing as if they care about our well being! They just want to advance the anti-gunner agenda, seeking to disarm the public at large!

Edmund Robbins
- East Kingston

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 12:15pm

No. A waiting period has never been proved effective in preventing crime and New Hampshire has always been a safe place to live and work. A waiting period only puts a restriction on our right to purchase and possess a firearm.


Related Bill

HB 514 (2019)
Bill Status: Vetoed by Governor
Hearing date: Apr 30, 2019

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