Recent efforts to make changes in New Hampshire gun laws have stirred up a much larger debate. New Hampshire state lawmakers put gun control in the spotlight again when they passed a bill allowing gun owners to carry a concealed handgun without obtaining a permit first.
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If this bill is signed into law, New Hampshire will join Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming as the only states where residents do not need a license to carry a concealed weapon. Naturally, such a major change in existing New Hampshire gun laws has stirred up a vigorous debate on both sides of the gun control issue.
Opponents of the bill are fearful that making it easier to carry a concealed handgun will create a charged environment where gun violence could quickly escalate. Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress, said that allowing for constitutional carry will simply gut already weak gun laws.
"In New Hampshire, it is already easier to legally carry a handgun than it is to legally drive a car," Hawkins told the Union Leader.
"SB 116 would make that worse. It is reasonable to deny concealed carry permits to those who are a danger to themselves or others."
In a letter to the editor at Seacoastonline.com,
New Hampshire resident Gary Patton argued that overturning a requirement for permits on concealed handguns will put law enforcement officials at greater risk for harm. Patton said state lawmakers need to remember why the law was originally passed in 1923. "Surely, the law requiring a permit for a concealed gun that has served the public well for 92 years should not be overturned frivolously," Patton wrote.
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Supporters of the bill believe it limits government from infringing on the right to bear arms which is protected at a state and federal level. Alan Rice, a board member for the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, believes gun owners should not have to cut through red tape just to carry a concealed weapon.
"We need SB 116 for several reasons, first and most importantly, the right to own, carry and use firearms is a constitutionally protected civil right," Rice said in a story by the Union Leader.
"The founding fathers did not contemplate citizens groveling to public officials to exercise that right."
New Hampshire state senator Jeb Bradley (R), who is a supporter of the constitutional carry bill, argued that making it easier to carry a gun will lead to lower violent crime rates in New Hampshire.
"Our radical and dangerous neighbor to the west – Vermont, which has allowed concealed carry without a license for 200 years without a problem – is the safest state in the nation," Bradley said, in the same Union Leader article.
This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.
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