Bill Relating to Firearms in Employee Vehicles Passes New Hampshire Legislature


Bill Relating to Firearms in Employee Vehicles Signed into Law

 By Attorneys Andrew J. Newcombe and James P. Reidy

With the shocking events of the last week, gun violence is again in the news. Although the debate between those wanting to protect the right to possess firearms and those who advocate for stricter gun control is often thought of as a federal issue, gun laws are often a function of state and local laws. We draw your attention to this important issue because the New Hampshire House and Senate passed a bill at the close of the most recent state legislative session that will limit the ability of certain employers to restrict the presence of firearms and ammunition on their properties.  That bill, HB 1336, was signed into law by Governor Sununu on July 12. This newly signed law applies to the storage of firearms and ammunition in employee vehicles while on employer property and marks a significant expansion of Second Amendment protections for legal gun owners in New Hampshire.

While New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the nation, sadly there have been instances of workplace violence in this state. Most employers have a workplace violence or weapons policy, but a policy is only as good as those who comply with it. With this new law set to take effect on January 1, 2025, employers should review their current policies and procedures now.

Which employers will be impacted by HB 1336?

Certain portions of HB 1336 apply generally to all employers in New Hampshire. Other portions apply only to employers that are recipients of public funds, but this includes any public or private employer that receives any public funds from the federal or state government (or any subdivision of the federal or state government). Public funds are defined broadly in this context and include government grants, any payments under government contracts, or any other form of public funds, regardless of the amount or level of such funding. Consequently, the scope of employers who receive public funds includes many private businesses, non-profits, and other entities across the state. Additionally, this law will apply to public employers, including the state and municipalities.

What do employers need to know about HB 1336?

HB 1336 will add a new provision to New Hampshire’s firearms laws. Any New Hampshire employers that receive public funds – which, as noted above, is a significant portion of New Hampshire employers – will no longer be allowed to prohibit an employee who may otherwise legally possess a firearm from storing a firearm or ammunition in the employee’s personal vehicle while entering or exiting the employer’s property or while the vehicle is parked on the employer’s property if the vehicle is locked and the firearm or ammunition is not visible. Additionally, such employers will be prohibited from taking any adverse action against employees who so store firearms or ammunition in their vehicles.

Additionally, this new law prohibits all employers from requiring an employee to disclose whether or not the employee stores a firearm or ammunition in the employee’s vehicle. It also prohibits any searches of employee vehicles for firearms or ammunition unless the search is conducted by a law enforcement officer pursuant to a warrant or a recognized exception to the warrant requirement.

HB 1336 also includes a provision granting civil immunity to employers for any economic loss, injury, or death resulting from or arising out of another person’s actions involving a firearm or ammunition stored in an employee’s vehicle in accordance with the proposed new law, including but not limited to the theft of a firearm from such a vehicle, unless the employer or an agent of the employer intentionally solicited or procured the actions giving rise to such damages.

What should employers do in advance of this new law going into effect?

The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2025. To comply with this new law, New Hampshire employers should review their current workplace policies to identify whether any such policies will conflict with the provisions of HB 1336. Specific attention is warranted for any policies relating to firearms or ammunition in employee vehicles or employer searches of employee vehicles.

To be clear, covered employers will still be able to prohibit weapons of all kinds on the person of the employee and in an employer’s offices, facilities, and company owned or leased vehicles.


This law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2025. In the meantime, employers should look at their workplace weapon policies and update them to take these new provisions into effect. Employers should also consider adopting or revisiting their workplace violence training. Again, while employees may keep a legal firearm in a locked vehicle and out of sight, employers can still ban weapons at work and can act promptly when an employee threatens others or exhibits behaviors causing a safety concern.

The attorneys in Sheehan Phinney’s Labor and Employment Law Practice Group are ready to assist you with any questions you may have regarding compliance with these workplace policies.  This article is intended to serve as a summary of the issues outlined herein.  While it may include some general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is it a substitute for, legal advice.