As they do nearly every year, anti-freedom legislators in New Hampshire have once again proposed numerous bills that would restrict the natural right to self-defense and the natural right to property. On February 8th, the House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee held a hearing for the bills in Representative Hall due to the large turnout. The majority of people who testified on the bills were pro-freedom and opposed the gun control bills.
Proposed by five Democrats, including the former House Speaker, House Bill 32 seeks to expand the prohibition of the possession of firearms in school zones. Current federal law prohibits firearms on school property. This bill would expand the ban to anywhere within 1,000 feet of any property of any school, which covers a tremendous amount of area.
Proposed by nine Democrats and one Republican, House Bill 59 would redefine ‘commercial sale’ to mean a sale, exchange, or gift. It would force people to go to federally licensed firearms dealers and conduct background checks via the FBI before transferring any firearm. And the bill creates strong penalties for violating the proposed law. “Any individual or person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor for a first offense, and a class A misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense.” A class B misdemeanor carries a $1,200 fine and a class A misdemeanor carries a year in jail. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, all actual commercial firearms sales – any firearm sold by an actual gun store – in the united states (which New Hampshire is still a member of, unfortunately) already require background checks.
Proposed by seven Democrats, House Bill 76 would violate the natural right to self-defense and the natural right to property by imposing a three-day waiting period before a person could take possession of a firearm that they bought at a gun store, even after passing the FBI NICS background check. If this were to pass, people would be denied their natural rights for at least three days, during which they would not be able to protect themselves. Naturally, this would cause many people to turn to private sales to obtain firearms. Criminals don’t obey laws. Violating the law would be a class B felony, which carries 3½ to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. One of the attorneys who testified against this bill made a few interesting points. The legislation exempts police officers and those who have taken a hunter safety course from the waiting period, which does not make much sense. It would also exempt those who have a restraining order. This would create a moral hazard by incentivizing people to file restraining orders against others in order to avoid the three-day waiting period. Making things even worse, the target of the restraining order loses many rights – including the right to own a firearm – without any due process.
Proposed by nine Democrats, House Bill 78 would repeal a great law that was passed by the legislature and signed into law last year. In the 2022 session, the amazing John Burt and 11 other Republicans proposed HB1178, which was a modest nullification bill for federal gun control. The bill prohibited state and local cops from assisting the federal government with their infringement on the natural rights of Granite Staters to possess firearms. But the bill did have an exception that allowed them to help the feds with gun control if the target of their efforts may have committed any crime: “…nothing in this chapter shall prevent a state, county, or local official from cooperating with or rendering aid or assistance to federal officials in any circumstance where there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a person who is the subject of an investigation for violation of federal firearms law…” Needless to say, the amended HB1178 was hardly a strong or radical nullification bill, but it was something good. Thus, the House’s most anti-liberty Democrats are intent on repealing it just months after Sununu signed it into law.
Proposed by nine Democrats, House Bill 106 would create a ‘red flag law’. This would erase the due process rights of gun owners in addition to harshly violating their natural rights to self-defense and their natural rights to own property. The bill would allow any law enforcement officer or any “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” to file a petition in a court claiming that a gun owner could potentially be dangerous. “A petitioner may seek relief under this chapter by filing a petition, in the county or district where the petitioner or respondent resides.” (giving the petitioner the option of two different courts allows them to pick the court that hates guns or freedom, allows them to pick a judge who likes them, and allows them to pick a judge that dislikes the gun owner. It is preposterous.) Then, without informing the gun owner and without giving him an opportunity to defend himself against the allegations, police would be sent to his home to punish him by confiscating all of his weapons and ammunition. He could then hire a lawyer and try to prove his innocence. I have written numerous articles about red flaw laws (referred to by anti-liberty activists as ‘extreme risk protection orders) and I recently wrote an entire book about these and many other laws and policies that clearly violate due process.
Proposed by four Democrats, House Bill 351 would expand the definitions for the crime of negligently leaving a firearm within reach of a minor. Once again, these sly Democrats have taken what appears to be a common-sense idea and expanded it to such a wide net that it violates basic liberties. The bill makes a few edits to current law, which states that a parent who allows a child under 16 to gain access to a firearm and use it recklessly is guilty of a crime. (crossed out is repealed and bold is added)
1) “Any person who stores or leaves on premises under that person’s control a loaded firearm
and who knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm] or an unloaded firearm with unsecured compatible ammunition in such a manner that it is available to a child without the supervision or permission…” This would make a significant change to current law by changing the language from ‘leaves a loaded gun’ to ‘has any unloaded gun if there is also ammunition in the home’.
2) “…is guilty of a [
violation] misdemeanor if a child gains access to a firearm…” This would obviously increase the penalties massively.
3) The current law states that it is only a crime if the child gains access to the gun and “the firearm is used in a reckless or threatening manner, or the firearm is used during the commission of any misdemeanor or felony, or the firearm is negligently or recklessly discharged.” This bill cleverly adds in a few more instances in which the law would apply: “The firearm is exhibited or displayed to others or the firearm is brought onto the grounds of any building or facility, public or private, accessible to members of the public where other people are present.” These hugely broad clauses would make it a crime if the child touched the firearm, not only if the child actually did something harmful or reckless with it.
4) The bill also increases penalties here: “Any person who violates paragraph III shall be [
fined not more than $1,000] guilty of a misdemeanor. If the child discharges a weapon obtained as a result of gross negligence resulting in the injury or death of the child or of another person, or uses it to commit a felony, such person shall be charged with a class B felony.”
UPDATE: The CJ committee recommended passing this bill by a vote of 10-9 with an amendment that would remove the (redundant) part about gun locks. Email your Representatives immediately and demand that they vote against this bill!
Proposed by one Democrat, House Bill 444 would violate the natural right to self-defense and the natural right to property while also infringing on the right to vote! Notorious anti-liberty communist, Timothy Horrigan proposed this one. It would make it a class A misdemeanor to carry any loaded or unloaded firearm at a polling place on any election day. As always, the bill exempts cops.
The House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee is currently considering whether to recommend these bills to the full House. You can email them at HouseCriminalJusticeandPublicSafety@leg.state.nh.us to let them know how you feel about any of these bills.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.