Skip to comments.Big win for carry licensing — misdemeanor pot conviction no basis to deny (NH)
Posted on 11/02/2012 8:27:17 PM PDT by marktwain
Pro-Gun New Hampshire General Counsel, attorney Evan Nappen, has won a significant court case involving concealed carry licensing in New Hampshire. His client was denied a NH non-resident carry license solely due to a 34 year old misdemeanor marijuana conviction received when he was 18 years old. The State was stubbornly enforcing their administrative rule (which, by the way, has no basis in law) that makes any misdemeanor conviction for drugs an automatic denial.
In the article published a week ago on this website, attorney Nappen announced a public hearing on changing the NH Department of Safetys rules for denial of a non-resident carry license, and made the crucial point that NH authorities often mistakenly rely on the overly restrictive rules used by the DOS/State Police for non-residents to deny resident carry licenses. Further, his article went on to argue that the DOS Administrative Rules went beyond the law, and should be changed to bring fairness to both NH residents and non-residents. (See (http://pgnh.org/public_hearing_on_nh_carry_license_rules_that_threaten_gun_rights_please_be_there .)
Now, attorney Nappen has won an important court case that stands for two legal issues regarding concealed carry licensing in New Hampshire. Quoting the judges decision: first, that there does not appear to be any articulable, legitimate reason for the disparate treatment of residents and non-residents; second, that the provision precluding the issuance of a pistol permit [sic*] for an out of state resident based upon a misdemeanor drug conviction is unreasonable on its face.
Put these two elements together, and you have a judicial precedent (though not binding on other courts) that can be used in other, future appeals of NH licensing denials, for both residents and non-residents, that a misdemeanor drug conviction should no longer be used as an automatic basis for denying concealed carry licenses. Given how often NH police and courts deny licenses because of such misdemeanor convictions, this precedent will prove to be instructive.
We believe that this is a step toward defining the suitable person language in the states carry licensing law to mean that anyone who isnt prohibited by law from possessing a gun shouldnt be prohibited from concealed carry.
The case against the NH State Police was decided on October 22, 2012, in Concord District Court by the Honorable Judge Boyle. This is the third case on NH non-resident license denial taken by Attorney Nappen and not only has he won all three of these cases, he is the one who defacto established that non-resident denials could be appealed in court (and Concord District Court in particular); previously, denials could be appealed only in administrative hearings within the Department of Safety where the process is unfairly slanted against the gun owner.
* (Note that, as described in our article at http://pgnh.org/gunlawfaqs, the NH Pistol/Revolver License for concealed carry should not be called a pistol permit.)
Georgia has a similar situation, where a misdemeanor drug conviction makes one ineligible for a concealed carry permit (Georgia Firearms License), but a misdemeanor of violence (non-domestic) does not.
I thought New Hampshire was one of the few states where every citizen could carry w/o a permit. Were they holding misdemeanor (non-domestic battery) exceptions?
The federal domestic-battery law is BS, IMHO. I’m not in favor of violent offenders having gun rights but they made this retro-active, when many people had just taken the easy way out earlier, never suspecting their 2nd Amendment rights would later be infringed.
I would prefer a national carry permit.
It shouldn’t have to require a federal reciprocity act, but that would clean things up, short term.
NH is a Yankee stronghold; nothing wrong with the Real Yankees in my book.
Vermont has Constitutional carry, and was the only state to have it for some time. Their Supreme Court decided properly on the issue back in the 20’s, as I recall.
Durus is correct, I believe. New Hampshire would have constitutional carry, except for their Democrat governor, who I believe, has vetoed it twice.
The trickie part of CC here in NH is if you carry open w/o a permit, in a car, the car or any part of it becomes the ‘concealing’element of the law.