The New Hampshire State Senate voted on party lines today to pass SB 12, which seeks to repeal a 94 year old concealed carry licensing law that helps prevent dangerous people from being able to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons.
The bill was opposed by gun violence protection groups as well as many of New Hampshire’s law enforcement. The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police testified against a similar piece of legislation last session, and in 2004 Senate President Chuck Morse and several Republicans voted against a similar repeal bill.
“SB 12 is another attempt by the gun lobby to allow anyone in New Hampshire to legally carry a hidden, loaded handgun. Requiring a license to carry a concealed weapon has worked well for New Hampshire for more than 90 years. These licenses are very easy and quick to obtain and do not place an unreasonable burden on law abiding citizens. SB 12 is a radical piece of legislation that will jeopardize public safety. The common sense law we have in place now allows local police departments to deny a license when there is reason to believe a person is a danger to themselves or others. For example, if an individual in a community is a known domestic abuser but has yet to be indicted, or has a hot temper and a habit of getting into bar fights, New Hampshire thankfully provides our local police departments with the ability to reject their concealed carry application. With this vote, New Hampshire is opening the door to allow dangerous individuals with a track record of violence to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress.
Sen. Bette Lasky (D-Nashua) released the following statement after passage of the bill:
“For decades, New Hampshire’s concealed carry permitting law has effectively safeguarded our Second Amendment rights while helping to keep New Hampshire one of the safest states in the nation. Repeal of the common sense measures outlined in this law will make it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs and needlessly put the people of New Hampshire at higher risk,” said Senator Lasky, Vice Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senate Democrats offered two amendments to address flaws in SB 12. Senator David Watters (D-Dover) introduced an amendment that would clarify the language of the bill to allow Fish and Game to do their jobs to monitor poaching in the state. Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua) introduced an amendment to require background checks for gun owners applying for concealed carry permits. Both amendments were defeated along party lines.
“Given the ramifications of this legislation, I’m concerned that Governor Sununu and Senate Republicans are rushing this legislation so quickly through the legislature and I’m disappointed by the outcome of today’s vote.”