NH considers legislation to restrict the rights given in Second Amendment
New Hampshire is one very controversial state when it comes to gun laws. Many people have opinions on the matter, but the representatives and citizens of the “Live Free or Die” state have a stubborn outlook when it comes to new proposed laws.
In 2013, that stubbornness is confronted with new ideas. Various New Hampshire State Representatives proposed five new bill proposals in 2013 for new gun laws.
House Bill 209 is, “ … an act relative to the relinquishment of firearms as a condition of bail.” Basically, the bill states that a court judge shall not order the relinquishment of firearms as a condition of bail from a person charged with an offense, unless the person is alleged to have committed a violent crime or alleged to have used a weapon when committing a crime. The bill was proposed by State Representatives Daniel Itse, George Lambert and Lawrence Kappler. On Feb. 22, the bill became “Inexpedient to Legislate,” or in other words, did not pass with an 18-0 committee vote and therefore, will not be brought to the floor for a full house vote.
Another House Bill, HB 388 was proposed by N.H. State Reps. Daniel Eaton and Joseph Pitre, is, “An act relative to the storage of firearms.” The bill specifically details that if a person leaves a loaded or unloaded firearm on their property and that gun is stolen and used for a crime, the person that owned the gun originally is granted civil immunity and cannot be prosecuted for the use of the gun in the crime. On Feb. 12, the bill passed with a committee vote of 16-2.
House Bill 396 is an act establishing a committee to study the requirement of safety training or instruction prior to the purchase or acquisition of a firearm. The committee would be chosen by the N.H. Speaker of the House and the Speaker would appoint three representatives. The bill did not pass committee with an 18-0 vote.
Yet another bill, HB 609, would allow school districts in New Hampshire to establish whether or not to allow school employees who are licensed to carry a concealed firearm on school property. The bill also lost the committee vote, 18-0.
N.H. State Rep. Al Baldasaro said about HB 609. He said, “I support it. Most of your schools you have professors and teachers that are veterans or have gun experience. They should be able to carry guns.”
Baldasaro sponsored HB 498. “The bill  didn’t pass; the majority of the house is run by Democrats,” he said. This bill was designed to allow the use of firearms by military or veterans groups in compact parts of a town for military events or national holidays. The bill lost in a 13-6 committee vote.
As a 22- year military veteran and Desert Storm veteran, Baldasaro said he has gun experience. “Yes, I do own a gun. My kids do as well. When my son came home for Christmas, he brought his AR-15 and we shot some rounds in the yard,” he said.
About New Hampshire’s gun culture, Baldasaro said, “New Hampshire is very focused on protecting ourselves. We are the live free or die state. FBI studies say the more guns citizens have, the less gun crime there is.”
William Wrenn, the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, said, “We’re trying to at least balance out the Second Amendment with protection of the public. And within that you’re going to have restrictions.”
As a police commissioner, Wrenn said he has a lot of experience with guns in New Hampshire and their uses. “It’s hard to say who has the gun. It could be any type of person who will commit a crime with a gun.” When asked about gun laws, Wrenn said, “There are loopholes that allow people [in NH] to basically set up a table in a building or under a tent or out in a field somewhere and put a whole bunch of guns on the table and sell them to people just walking up to the table. It’s dangerous.”
The representatives of NH have voted on these bills and turned all but one down. The reasons aren’t known, yet their decisions speak for themselves. Even though this is the “Live Free or Die” state, one thing is for sure: these people do not want their gun laws to get any more lax. Despite being one of New Hampshire’s most vocal and visible gun supporters and sponsor of two of the 2013 gun bills, State Rep. Daniel Itse did not respond to two voicemail requests for comments.
Commissioner Wrenn stated, “Where do you strike that balance between the right to buy and possess a weapon and making sure the public is safe?”
Eric Jedd can be contacted at email@example.com