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Thread: Carrying in a Car - "Unloaded" Definition

  1. #1
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    Carrying in a Car - "Unloaded" Definition

    I live in Ohio at the moment but I'm from Keene and will be there probably for Labor Day. Quick question, what constitutes "unloaded" in NH. In Ohio the rules are all messed up that even a magazine that has bullets in it that goes with a firearm that is in the vehicle even if one is in the glove box and one is in the trunk counts as a "loaded" firearm. I have a CHL here, but NH doesn't recognize Ohio's license.

    Basically is it fine to have my firearm holstered while in my car without a mag in it? Does the mag have to be inaccessible or also unloaded. or firearm needs to be in the trunk or whatever during travel?
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    Regular Member Tactical9mm's Avatar
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    The relevant statute is RSA 159:4

    159:4 Carrying Without License. – No person shall carry a loaded pistol or revolver in any vehicle or concealed upon his person, except in his dwelling, house or place of business, without a valid license therefor as hereinafter provided. A loaded pistol or revolver shall include any pistol or revolver with a magazine, cylinder, chamber or clip in which there are loaded cartridges. Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall, for the first such offense, be guilty of a misdemeanor. For the second and for each subsequent violation of the provisions of this section, such person shall be guilty of a class B felony, provided such second or subsequent violation has occurred within 7 years of the previous conviction.

    This would appear to suggest that what you say about Ohio's way might be the way up here. I would recommend contacting the NH Attorney General's office for final clarification, before you make your trip.

    My prediction is they will affirm the definition as it appears in the statute. Your worst case scenario is keeping cartridges boxed with a speed-loader while you are inside your vehicle. Unloading your mag when you re-enter the vehicle, and clearing any round that is chambered.

    You can carry openly or concealed with an empty pistol (including one with an empty mag inserted). This "poker carry" is fully legal without having a license under the above statute, both inside and outside of your vehicle.

    I linked the Attorney General's office contact information in the thread in this NH forum about rifle laws. Please let us all know what the result is.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Tactical9mm; 06-18-2012 at 02:03 AM.

  3. #3
    Regular Member lysander6's Avatar
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    Technically, according to People v. Clark 1996, a loaded weapon must have a round in the chamber whose primer can be hit by the firing pin after a trigger press. I am currently fighting the TSA over this. They don't speak English nor understand how firearms work.
    Last edited by lysander6; 06-19-2012 at 08:53 PM.
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  4. #4
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    For the People v Clark, since it's a California case in the 9th circuit I doubt it has much sway in NH. Since, according to your profile you're in AZ, which is 9th Circuit it may have sway for you.

    For the exact law that Tactical9mm posted "A loaded pistol or revolver shall include any pistol or revolver with a magazine, cylinder, chamber or clip in which there are loaded cartridges" Keyword I read as WITH.

    I would read this that the bullets are in some way in the body of the gun. It reads to me that I can keep my firearm in my holster on my belt and just pop the mag, assuming i don't have a chambered round, when i get in the car and keep it on my person or near by and I'll have an unloaded weapon by it not fitting the definition of loaded defined in the law. And since the rest of the carry laws address a loaded firearm I would say I would be ok. But I would be interested to hear further opinions or any other resources that could confirm or re-affirm this conclusion.
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  5. #5
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    YMMV but if you have access without stopping to grab to both the firearm and magazine/speed loader, they *could* count it as a firearm with a magazine... Depends on if you want to have to go to court over it.... then again your decision may vary since it 'just a misdemeanor' (the first time).

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