Skip to comments.Lynch urges restraint on firearm bills(NH)
Posted on 01/02/2012 7:05:46 AM PST by marktwain
Gov. John Lynch and police and education officials are calling on lawmakers to reject three proposed bills that would loosen gun laws on university campuses and elsewhere.
One bill would take away the right of college officials to ban guns on campus, another would let residents carry weapons - openly or concealed, loaded or empty - without a permit, and the third would permit loaded rifles and shotguns to be carried in vehicles.
Lynch and the others will protest the legislation at a press conference tomorrow, a day before lawmakers reconvene for the 2012 legislative session. Lynch's spokesman, Colin Manning, said Friday that protecting public safety will be one of Lynch's priorities this year.
"Certainly, these bills are a significant departure from our public safety approach here in New Hampshire," Manning said. The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police agrees and wrote representatives a letter in late December urging them to vote down the bills.
"The enactment of 'wild west' firearms statutes runs the risk of negatively impacting tourism, discouraging nonresidents from sending their children to our schools and colleges and causing residents to feel fearful when they encounter persons openly carrying firearms on our streets and in our public places," read the letter sent by the organization's president, Pittsfield police Chief Robert Wharem.
"The open display of loaded firearms in motor vehicles and in our streets and public places makes it all the more likely they will be used in a fit of road rage or anger," Wharem wrote.
Rep. Steve Cunningham, a Sunapee Republican, sponsored the bill that would prevent university officials - and all other public officials - from banning guns in public places. He said his bill would change very little: Rather than letting the state set gun rules on public property, Cunningham's bill would explicitly give that right to only the Legislature.
Cunningham said he got the idea for the legislation after discovering that at least two state agencies - one being the state Department of Labor - had posted signs on their premises banning guns. He doesn't believe individuals in state offices have the right to decide gun policy, so he decided to clarify it with his bill.
And while Cunningham wasn't targeting colleges and universities, campus officials have responded loudest to his bill. Currently, colleges and universities bar students from keeping weapons in their university housing and from carrying weapons on campus.
Changing that would be dangerous and risky, said Paul Dean, executive director of safety at the University of New Hampshire.
"It becomes a problem when you give some kids who are immature the ability to have firearms on campus and then add alcohol to the scenario," Dean said. "A freshman student is nothing more than a two-month-older high school student, and we don't let high school students have guns in school."
Dean said university students can keep guns on campus as long as they agree to store them at the police station. There are about 30 there now, Dean said.
When students want to have their guns, for shooting or hunting, for example, they can check them out from the police station, he said.
"We have a system that works fine, and no one is complaining about it," Dean said. Allowing guns to be kept and carried on campus will not only put students and others at risk, it could also deter future students from enrolling at the university because of safety fears, he said.
Dean also disputes the argument that students need to be armed to protect themselves from danger. He said the university police have a record of responding to calls in under three minutes. Dean will join Lynch tomorrow to speak out against the proposed bills.
Rep. J.R. Hoell, a Dunbarton Republican, is the prime sponsor of the other two gun-related bills. He is also a co-sponsor on Cunningham's bill. Hoell could not be reached for comment Friday.
One of Hoell's bills would allow gun owners to carry guns without a permit. The rule would apply to guns carried out of view and openly, as well as guns loaded and not loaded. Current law requires gun owners to get a permit to carry concealed weapons on their person or in their vehicles. That permit allows the guns to be loaded.
Without a permit, gun owners must carry their guns openly and unloaded. Hoell's proposed legislation says a change is necessary because lawmakers believe "citizens engaged in practices currently lawful under New Hampshire laws, such as open or concealed carry of a firearm, have been subjected to harassment by law enforcement."
In his letter, Wharem disputed that. He accused lawmakers of taking what are "at most, isolated instances and making them seem like everyday occurrences."
Enfield police Chief Richard Crate Jr., who helps monitor legislation for the police chiefs association, agreed. He said New Hampshire makes it very easy to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Residents do not need to demonstrate they know how to use their gun or provide fingerprints to get a license. And, Crate added, he has not heard public complaints about gun rights.
Changing the law would make it harder for the police to protect the public, he said. The current law allows the police to deny permits for concealed weapons to people who've demonstrated mental instability. That wouldn't be true under the proposed law because no one would need a permit.
Hoell's other bill would allow people to carry loaded shotguns and rifles in their vehicles, which is banned under existing law.
Crate said the safety vests police officers wear are designed to stop handgun bullets, not bullets from high-powered rifles. State Fish and Game officials have said they are also concerned about this proposed change because it will make it harder to police people who try to hunt from their vehicles.
"The problem with all of this is that (lawmakers) are kind of making an issue where there really isn't one," Crate said. "What will happen is that the people who are going to take advantage of this will be the criminal element."
How many murders do you suppose these old western towns saw a year? Let’s say the bloodiest, gun-slingingest of the famous cattle towns with the cowboys doing quick-draws at high noon every other day. A hundred? More?
How about five? That was the most murders any old-west town saw in any one year. Ever. Most towns averaged about 1.5 murders a year, and not all of those were shooting. You were way more likely to be murdered in Baltimore in 2008 than you were in Tombstone in 1881, the year of the famous gunfight at the OK Corral (body count: three) and the town’s most violent year ever.
Politicians re invent history to thier own liking
There’s already blood in the streets from gangs. The only additional blood would be of those gangs when citizens can protect themselves. Ask those kids at VT about having guns restricted on campus. Seems the only one who defied the ban wound up killing a bunch of them.
News flash: the criminal element is already taking advantage of unlicensed concealed carry. What an idiot Crate is.
We’ve had our CCW since we moved up in ‘95, and haven’t had any problems at all. This is a shall issue state, though, and I suspect I’d have a real problem should they try to go the “may” issue way.
My major problem is that I normally carry whenever I leave the property, and I tend to forget that I’ve got to go into Maine or Massachusetts that day. In those states, of course, you are required to be helpless. Oh well, pull over on the good side of the line, disassemble the weapon then lock it in the truckbed, and stay under the speed limit.
We,NH don’t have any law which prohibits open carry of a loaded handgun, with or without a permit. The absence of a law allows open carry.
Where it becomes confusing is if you carry open in a car, it is considered, concealed i.e. the car and its accessory compartments could be used as a place to conceal the gun.
Our State Constitution says we have the right
Art.] 2-a. [The Bearing
of Arms.] All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.
If you choose to read this law Justification of Deadly Force go here.
627:1-a Civil Immunity.
A person who uses force in self-protection or in the protection of other persons pursuant to RSA 627:4, in the protection of premises and property pursuant to RSA 627:7 and 627:8, in law enforcement pursuant to RSA 627:5, or in the care or welfare of a minor pursuant to RSA 627:6, is justified in using such force and shall be immune from civil liability for personal injuries sustained by a perpetrator which were caused by the acts or omissions of the person as a result of the use of force. In a civil action initiated by or on behalf of a perpetrator against the person, the court shall award the person reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs, including but not limited to, expert witness fees, court costs, and compensation for loss of income.
For the Libs, read them and weep
Who ever thought that the education would be the ruination of the country? Universities are bastions and incubators of liberalism.
Governor Lynch = girly man.
Actually, New Hampshire is not really a “shall issue” state. See “suitable person” in 159:6, and the requirement for three personal references on the application form.
Also, I’d be careful about Mass - new magazines over 10 rounds capacity are criminal to possess unless you have a Class A license to carry, and it’s criminal to possess a handgun travelling to a destination in Massachusetts, even disassembled, unless you have a Class B license.
What this Police Chief is trying to do is to drum up more fear. If the police are the only ones possessing the commodity ("protection"), they will be the only ones selling it.
We need to make "protection" more of a DIY project. Decreasing the violence this way is lots cheaper than increasing the police state factor, eh?
Would I feel safer, as a kid or an adult, if more honest, reliable citizens were carrying concealed? And the penalties for misuse stiff? You betcha!!
If these police chiefs are so worried about the mentally ill possessing weapons, perhaps it would be advisable to address that citizen individually, instead of infringing upon the rights of the whole body.
Any police chief who thinks the way these jackasses do, should be ousted.
Someone should ask this jackass why he is letting two-month older highschool students have alcohol. There is a law against underage drinking.
If these students are the type that regularly break the law on underage drinking, they probably don't have much respect for other laws either.
When we go south to visit our families, we have to go unarmed and hope for the best. (And a borrow from my brother when I get there.)
They do require references here, and I give them. My wife, my mother in law, and a friend. They’ve never checked, and for good reason since there wouldn’t be any point. I’ve had dealings with the local police chief, and I don’t spend time worrying about it.
While I agree that any magazine restriction is nuts, in practice, if I can’t down my target with eleven rounds, would two more do me any good? Besides, in the summer, I carry my old Colt DS .38, with only six rounds. (Practice is fun, although our dogs disagree.)
Perhaps all the possible crap will simply fade away. I hope so, but I’d prefer my M1A if I really have to go.