Home » News » Public Safety
Applicants for gun licenses must fill out form, await background check
Assistant Safety Commissioner Earl Sweeney said police typically issue the pistol licenses, but some towns designate others to issue them.
"Each town keeps their own records, and neither the Department of Safety or any other state agency as far as I know has any idea who does or does not have a license or how many are issued in a particular town or city or statewide," Sweeney said in an email.
The names of people issued licenses are exempt from the state's right-to-know law "because the Legislature has decided that it is not good public policy for the criminal element to possibly know who might own a gun," Sweeney said.
In New Hampshire, people are not required to have a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver in their home or place of business, "so one is not necessary if you simply want to protect yourself against a potential home invasion," Sweeney said.
A license also isn't required to carry a concealed but unloaded firearm in public or in a vehicle, or to carry a loaded pistol or revolver on the street or in a public building if the weapon is visible and is not covered by an outer garment, except in a courthouse or on the property of a school, or in any private business that has banned firearms on their property.
The state law governing the licenses states the applicant must be "a suitable person," which Sweeney said means "a lot is left to the discretion of the local official as when a person would not be a 'suitable person' and there is no specific test written into the law to help them determine this."
He said convicted felons aren't allowed to possess deadly weapons, so they can't receive a license.
"Other typical reasons for denial would be that the applicant has a criminal record of convictions for violent offenses, has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution for treatment of a diagnosable mental illness that involved dangerousness, is under indictment and awaiting trial for a felony, is known to be mentally ill or incompetent, has made statements threatening people in the community, is under a domestic violence protective order or a bail order from a judge not to possess firearms, or has carelessly and inappropriately brandished or mishandled a firearm in a way that would demonstrate that they would pose a danger to themselves or others," Sweeney said in an email.
"None of these reasons are specifically mentioned in the law, but they are typical of instances where police chiefs have concluded that someone was not a 'suitable person.' The police in a specific city or town should not issue a license to someone who is not a resident of their community," Sweeney said.
Manchester police conduct a criminal background check and a local history check on each applicant, placing that information in a packet for a detective to review. An applicant, for instance, can be disqualified for such things as a person's mental health history, police Capt. Nick Willard said.
Applicants fill out a questionnaire and pay a $10 fee. The licensing authority has 14 days to grant the license or state in writing why the application was rejected.
In 2012, 35 of 1,466 applicants were denied a license. Among those rejected were three people charged with a criminal offense for falsifying their application or misrepresenting information.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Citizen's Police Academy in Manchester set for Oct. 1 - 0
- Heating unit cause of blaze in Manchester - 0
- Mother of Bedford student hit by car says safety should come first on school grounds - 2
- New Farmington police chief continues to build relationships in the community he’s served for 14 years - 0
- Keene police officer on bicycle struck by car - 0
- Antidote carried by NH first responders a life-saver for heroin overdoses - 0
- In neglect cases, indigent parents may lose legal help - 2
- Hot spotlight put on NH domestic violence - 2
- NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is seeking funding - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Man stabbed in leg in Manchester incident - 0
- Senate sustains Hassan veto of bill to revamp juvenile justice system - 0
- Possible negotiated plea for Nashua dad accused of negligent homicide in son's death - 0
- Amherst man facing charges in August Merrimack accident - 0
- Dan Tuohy's Granite Status: Brown calls on Shaheen to back bill targeting ISIS - 4
- Traffic backed up a mile in Hampton tractor-trailer accident - 0
- NHIAA Football Power Poll; Who's No. 1 this week? - 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: Belichick's 200th was a trademark triumph - 0
- MarketReach makes move to Nashua - 0
In 2nd District race, Garcia bucks Obamacare
Attorney claims illegal phone seizure following Christmas Eve accident that killed Brookline mom
Find the hidden cash stashed downtown
Strategery: A war by any other name
Freeh dumb: Favoritism in Vt.?
Lawyer wants cellphone evidence thrown out
Mexican man pleads guilty in international conspiracy to traffic hundreds of pounds of cocaine
Your Turn, NH -- Ted Menswar Jr.: How Manchester pulled together to honor one of its greats