Governor Sununu has vetoed HB687.
On Monday, June 29th, the Democrat-controlled New Hampshire Senate passed a ‘red flag’ gun confiscation bill along party-lines. House Bill 687, a bill ‘Relative to Extreme Risk Protection Orders’ (ERPO), allows people to report others, who they believe are potentially dangerous, to law enforcement, and directs law enforcement to confiscate firearms without due process. The Democrat-sponsored bill passed the House before the COVID shutdown of the legislature, and, having now passed in the Senate, will be sent to Governor Sununu. While the Republican governor has been strong in his support for gun rights and multiple publications are expecting a veto, he has hinted at supporting some ‘red flag’ law bills in the past, according to inside Republican sources.
According to the bill, when a person informs a judge that someone they are acquainted with might potentially present a danger to themselves or others, the judge may order law enforcement officers to confiscate all the owner’s firearms and ammunition. This process occurs without the accused ever being informed that any petition has been filed against them. The bill outlines who can file this petition:
“A spouse, ex-spouse, person cohabiting with another person, and a person who cohabited with another person in the preceding 24 months but who no longer shares the same residence.
A parent or other person related by consanguinity or affinity, other than a minor child who resides with the respondent.
A person who is currently or who, in the preceding 24 months, has been involved in a romantic relationship with another, whether or not such relationship was ever sexually consummated.”
Yes, pretty much any person who had any romantic feelings for you or was the subject of your romantic feelings within the past two years can influence police to confiscate all of your firearms and ammunition on a whim. If you so much as flirt with a person, or if they flirt with you, one could argue that a romantic feeling may have potentially existed, at least for one party. Perhaps even more troubling, ex-wives and ex-husbands can file this petition against their former spouse indefinitely. All this proceeds without any due process, of course. If a judge issues the ERPO, police will confiscate your property without giving you a chance to defend yourself in court. As stated in the bill:
“Temporary orders issued under this section shall prohibit the respondent from purchasing, possessing, or receiving any firearms and ammunition for the duration of the order and shall further direct the respondent to relinquish to a law enforcement officer all firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the respondent or any other person on behalf of the respondent, and any license to carry a loaded pistol or revolver issued to the respondent under RSA 159:6, for the duration of the protective order. The court shall require proof, which may be in the form of a verbal attestation under oath or sworn affidavit, that the respondent has surrendered any firearms or ammunition owned by the respondent or in his or her custody, control, or possession.
The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer to search for and seize all firearms and ammunition in the respondent’s possession, custody, or control, if there is probable cause to believe respondent has firearms or ammunition and if the court has probable cause to believe that such firearms or ammunition have not been relinquished by the respondent. The court shall require proof, which may be in the form of a verbal attestation under oath or sworn affidavit, that the respondent has surrendered any firearms or ammunition owned by the respondent or in his or her custody, control, or possession.”
Only after a person has their house searched by the police and all their firearms and ammunition have been confiscated, can they hire a lawyer and go to court to try to convince a judge to change their mind and give them their property back.
Those concerned about this bill should contact Governor Sununu and make him aware how much support New Hampshire citizens have for freedom, due process, and gun rights.
Email the Governor at email@example.com and tell him how you feel about this bill. And don’t forget to email your State Reps and Senators to thank them or condemn them for their vote on this horrible bill.