N.H. Supreme Court: Loaded Means Loaded

Aug 7, 2013

The N.H. Supreme Court has ruled that guns must contain ammunition to be considered loaded under state law, invalidating a misdemeanor charge brought against a Manchester man for carrying a pistol without a permit.

The court said prosecutors were wrong to charge 31-year old Oriol Dor  after police found an empty semi-automatic pistol and a loaded magazine in the glove compartment of Dor's car.

Prosecutors argued the proximity of the ammunition to the weapon was enough for it to be considered loaded under state law.

But the court unanimously disagreed, writing that under the state’s reading a person would have to guess at what constituted a loaded gun.

By contrast, the court wrote, interpreting loaded gun as one containing a cartridge in the chamber or a magazine, cylinder or clip  eliminated the uncertainty.