All it takes is Governor Chris Sununu’s signature to pass Senate Bill 12. This bill, if signed by Sununu, will give New Hampshire residents the right to a permitless, concealed carry, as reported by articles on the website NRA-ILA. On Thursday, Feb. 9, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed SB-12 with a vote of 200-97.
This bill differs from the permitless, open carry law which is currently in effect. The open carry law gives “any New Hampshire resident who is allowed to own a firearm [the ability to] carry that firearm openly – on their hip, or wherever people can see it,” as stated in an article titled, “House Passes Permitless Carry in New Hampshire,” on NRA-ILA.
The permitless, concealed carry bill “allows a person to carry a loaded, concealed pistol or revolver without a license unless such person is otherwise prohibited by New Hampshire statute,” as declared on Section II of the Analysis section of the “SENATE BILL 12-FN,” which is found on gencourt.state.nh.us.
Currently, New Hampshire identifies as a “shall issue” state, meaning “permits will be issued as long as the applicant meets the minimum requirements,” as stated on New Hampshire Gun Control Laws on statelaws.findlaw.com. The website also says that individuals must also not be “[a]rmed career criminals, “convicted felons” or “minors.” Individuals who fit such classification may also not own or possess a gun.
Many sources, such as New England Cable News (NECN), WMUR and the Concord Monitor, contain articles mentioning that the odds of Republican Sununu signing the bill are plausible. An NECN article reported that this is not the first time a bill regarding gun rights has been addressed in New Hampshire. One similiar to the SB-12 had been vetoed by the previous governor Maggie Hassan.
If the bill were to be made into a law, New Hampshire would not be the first state in the New England region to allow permitless, concealed carry. According to WMUR’s article concerning the bill, both Maine and Vermont already use this law.
Despite the permitless, open carry law active in New Hampshire, students are not allowed to carry a gun on school campuses, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s website.
Keene State College’s guidelines mirror this law. The KSC Student Handbook (under Weapons Policy in the Campus Policies section) reads, “Weapons are prohibited on the Keene State College campus. The term ‘weapons’ includes but is not limited to: firearms (to include disabled firearms or authentic-looking replicas)… All incidents involving gun possession on campus will be reported to the Keene State College Department of Campus Safety and the Keene Police Department (KPD) immediately… Return of such property will be in accordance with KPD policy.”
Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Kemal Atkins spoke on the effect of the potential law on the college and said, “We’re in the beginning stages of some of the conversation about it.” He mentioned that if the bill were to become a law, the college would “continue to work with our campus safety committee” as well as “local law enforcement.”
“The safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors is of utmost important to us… We’ll continue to remain vigilant and ensure that we have the best possible working [and] living environment for our students, faculty and staff,” said Atkins.
KSC sophomore biology major Andrew Fuhs also commented on the potential passing of the bill and said, “I think it’s fine. New Hampshire already has a very low crime rate…we don’t have an issue with firearms, so I think it just sort of allows people to… more easily have access to their own firearms…”
Additionally, first-year exercise science major Sarah Willson spoke on how she felt about the bill.
“Well, I feel like there’s good and bad things about [the potential for permitless, concealed carry],” she said. “Definitely bad because I don’t know how they’re regulating who gets guns and who’s able to carry them, and I guess good because people are able to feel safe and protect their rights, but I don’t know. I feel like that’s very unsafe in certain situations because… if you don’t have to have a permit to carry a gun, then anyone can have one….”
Alexandria Saurman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org