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Charlie T Waite

New Hampshire: House Floor Votes On Anti-Gun Bills Possible Soon

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At any moment, the New Hampshire state House of Representatives may hold floor votes to consider concurrence on a number of bills received from the Senate that would impact our Second Amendment rights, including legislation to criminalize the private transfer of firearms, impose waiting periods, increase arbitrary boundaries where law-abiding citizens are left defenseless, and take away the constitutional rights of individuals without due process.  Please contact your state Representative and urge them to OPPOSE House Bills 109, 514, 564, and 696.  Click the "Take Action" button now to contact your state Representative.

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House Bill 109, as amended, would essentially ban the private transfer of firearms, with very limited exemptions.  It would employ a broad definition of "commercial sales" that would require private individuals, such as collectors and hobbyists who attend gun shows to trade firearms among each other, to conduct their transfers through Federal Firearm Licensed (FFL) dealers.  The exemptions in the bill for private individuals not attending gun shows are so narrow and this definition of "commercial sales" is so large that they are effectively useless.

This is a solution in search of a problem.  Federal law already requires firearm dealers, regardless of location, to do background checks when transferring firearms.  According to federal studies of how prison inmates acquired firearms, fewer than 1% reporting acquiring them at gun shows, and the vast majority acquired firearms on the back market, by straw purchase, or theft.  In addition, ATF has reported that nearly half of illegally trafficked firearms originate through straw purchasers alone.

House Bill 514, as amended, would delay Second Amendment rights by requiring a three day waiting period (excluding weekends and holidays) before an individual may receive firearms that they purchase.  There would be limited exemptions, such as for those who have completed the 16 hour hunter safety course and are seeking to buy a long gun.  The original version of the bill would have imposed the waiting period for seven days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, and included ammunition as well, but those provisions have been amended out.

Waiting periods are an archaic relic from before the digital age, since they were originally meant to give local law enforcement time to complete background checks.  Since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) came into operation in 1998, technology has allowed background checks to be done instantly, activating the law that eliminated the federally required waiting periods.  There is no evidence that waiting periods reduce suicides.  A waiting period would not deter or affect criminals, as they obtain the vast majority of their firearms from illegal sources.  It would especially affect first-time buyers seeking a firearm for self-defense, as it would be a seven working day delay where they and their loved ones are left defenseless.

House Bill 564, as amended, would allow school districts to adopt policies to prohibit law-abiding citizens carrying firearms for self-defense from going onto school grounds.  Parents would have to deviate from their normal routes to leave firearms at home or to park off-campus when picking their children up at school or attending school events.  So called “gun-free zones” simply disarm law-abiding citizens and leave them defenseless against the criminals who ignore such arbitrary boundaries.  School safety is of the utmost importance, but restricting the rights of law-abiding New Hampshire citizens won't result in increased school safety.

House Bill 696, would violate an individual's constitutional rights and allow for the seizure of firearms with an ex parte order absent due process and without regard for the basis of the order.  Further, law enforcement would be immune from liability for any damage done to the firearms they seize.  If an order expires, an individual would have to go to court to have their constitutionally protected property returned to them, unlike when the court may have seized the property wrongfully.

Again, please click the “Take Action” button above to contact your state Representative and urge them to OPPOSE House Bills 109, 514, 564, and 696.

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