Gun Crimes in New Hampshire
Live Free or Die is the New Hampshire motto, and our state has some very unique gun laws. First, on February 22, 2017, Governor Sununu singed a bill into law which allows the average citizen to carry a concealed weapon without the formality of obtaining a permit. Previously, if a citizen wanted to carry a concealed firearm, it was necessary to obtain a permit from your local police chief. But, as of February 22, 2017, that process is no longer required.
However, it is important to understand that if you have been convicted of certain offenses, you are prohibited from owning, carrying or having access to a firearm. For example, RSA 159:3 ,which is entitled Convicted Felons, prohibits certain types of offenders from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon. From the title of the statute, you can probably guess that the qualifying offense to trigger the prohibition is a felony.
The penalties for having a firearm while being a convicted felon are very serious and normally entail stand committed sentences in the New Hampshire State Prison
In addition, if you have been convicted of a qualifying crime of domestic violence, there is a federal prohibition for owning firearms. Therefore, theoretically, if you have been convicted of a felony charge involving domestic violence, you could be prosecuted in both the state and federal criminal justice system.
Even if you are not prohibited from possessing a firearm, the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime can trigger a variety of penalty enhancements. For example, if you are armed with a firearm during the commission of a robbery the offense is automatically elevated to a class A felony. The same is true for the offense of criminal threatening. In addition, RSA 651:2 allows the maximum period of incarceration to be increased.
For example, if an element of the underlying offense is the possession, use or attempted use of a deadly weapon, and the deadly weapon is a firearm, you may be sentenced to a maximum term of 20 years imprisonment in lieu of any other sentence prescribed for the crime. Therefore, the normal maximum penalty for a first degree assault becomes 10-20 years instead of 7 1/2-15 years.
Finally, there are other sentencing enhancements which may apply pursuant to RSA 651:6 if your prior criminal record involves convictions involving the use of a firearm.
If you have been charged with a crime which alleges the use of firearm, please take some time to contact the law firm of Chadwick-Fricano Weber at 603-880-6100. Our trained and experienced lawyers will take the time to analyze every level of statutory liability so that you have a complete understanding of the process moving forward.