AN ACT relative to the carrying of a firearm in a public building.

SPONSORS: Rep. Burridge, Ches 16

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety


This bill establishes the crime of carrying a firearm in a public building.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fourteen

AN ACT relative to the carrying of a firearm in a public building.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Section; Breach of Peace and Related Offenses; Carrying a Firearm in a Public Building. Amend RSA 644 by inserting after section 20 the following new section:

644:21 Carrying a Firearm in a Public Building.

I. No person shall knowingly and openly carry a loaded or unloaded pistol, revolver, or firearm upon his or her person or within any of the person’s possessions owned or within the person’s control while inside a public building unless such person possesses a valid license under RSA 159:6. Any person who violates this paragraph shall be guilty of a class B felony.

II. A notice of the provisions of paragraph I may be conspicuously posted at each public entrance to a public building.

III. In this section:

(a) “Firearm” shall have the same meaning as in RSA 173-B:1, XI.

(b) “Public building” means any building, structure, or place owned or operated by the state or one of its political subdivisions, and shall include the university system of New Hampshire and the community college system of New Hampshire.

2 Pistols and Revolvers; Exceptions. Amend RSA 159:5 to read as follows:

159:5 Exceptions. The provisions of RSA 159:3 [and 4], RSA 159:4, and RSA 644:21 shall not apply to marshals, sheriffs, policemen or other duly appointed peace and other law enforcement officers, or bailiffs and court officers responsible for court security; nor to the regular and ordinary transportation of pistols or revolvers as merchandise, nor to members of the armed services of the United States when on duty; nor to the national guard when on duty; nor to organizations by law authorized to purchase or receive such weapons; nor to duly authorized military or civil organizations when parading, or the members thereof when at, or going to or from, their customary places of assembly.

3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.



Revised 12/03/13


AN ACT relative to the carrying of a firearm in a public building.


The Judicial Branch, Judicial Council, Department of Corrections and New Hampshire Association of Counties state this bill, as introduced, may increase state and county expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2014 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on local expenditures, or state, county, and local revenue.


The Judicial Branch states this bill adds RSA 644:21 to prohibit the carrying of firearms in a public building without a valid license and amends RSA 159:5 to exempt law enforcement from this prohibition. Violation of RSA 644:21 would be punished as a class B felony. The Branch has no information to estimate how many additional felony cases may result from the proposed bill. The Branch does have information on the average cost of processing a class B felony case which is classified as a routine criminal case. The cost for a routine criminal case will be $425.27 in FY 2015 and $433.34 in FY 2016 and each year thereafter. The possibility for a case to be appealed increases the cost. All costs are estimated based on case weight information from the last needs assessment completed in 2005. Since the last needs assessment studies there have been changes to the judicial system, such as the formation of the circuit court, more self-represented litigants and changes on how cases are processed, that may impact the costs associated with processing cases.

The Judicial Council states this bill may result in an indeterminable increase in general fund expenditures if an individual is found to be indigent and the public defender program is unable to provide representation. The majority of the cases (approximately 85%) are handled by the public defender program, with the remaining cases going to contract attorneys (14%) or assigned counsel (1%). The public defender program is appropriated monies that it expends according to the terms of its contract with the Council, of which the proposed changes in this bill would not impact. The Council states if the public defender program is not used then a contract attorney is used, charging a flat fee of $756.25 per felony. If an assigned counsel attorney is used the fee is $60 per hour with a cap of $4,100 for a felony charge.

The Department of Corrections states it is not able to determine the fiscal impact of this bill because it does not have sufficient detail to predict the number of individuals who would be subject to this legislation. The Department states the average annual cost of incarcerating an individual in the general prison population for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 was $32,872. The cost to supervise an individual by the Department’s division of field services for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 was $570.

The New Hampshire Association of Counties states to the extent more individuals are charged, convicted, and sentenced to incarceration in a county correctional facility, the counties will have increased expenditures. The Association is unable to determine the number of individuals who may be charged, convicted or incarcerated as a result of this bill to determine an exact fiscal impact. The average annual cost to incarcerate an individual in a county correctional facility is approximately $35,000. There is no impact on county revenue.

The Department of Justice states this bill will not have a fiscal impact on the Department because such offenses are typically prosecuted by local and county prosecutors not the Department and any appeals for a conviction for such an offense could be handled within the Department’s existing budget.