NH Constitutional Carry up for Critical Vote

Constitutional carry is moving in New Hampshire.  The bill is SB116 in the Senate and HB582 in the House.  It passed the Senate on 12 February.  It was introduced by the Senate Majority leader.  Constitutional carry came within a hair of being passed in 2011.  Many believe that hamhanded tactics by the NRA representative killed the process.  In 2011, it had passed the House, 244 to 109.  Here is the analysis of SB116/HB582:

This bill:
I. Increases the length of time for which a license to carry a pistol or revolver is valid.
II. Allows a person to carry a loaded, concealed pistol or revolver without a license unless such person is otherwise prohibited by New Hampshire statute.
III. Requires the director of the division of state police to negotiate and enter into agreements with other jurisdictions to recognize in those jurisdictions the validity of the license to carry issued in this state.
IV. Repeals the requirement to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver.

Constitutional carry has expanded to five or six states, depending on how you count.  Some count Montana, others do not.  Vermont, which borders New Hampshire, has always had constitutional carry, and has never had a problem with it.  Vermont’s crime rates are lower than most European countries, and are the envy of other states.  Their example is a powerful argument for constitutional carry in New Hampshire.

Several other states have passed bills in previous years, often with large margins.  Some have been vetoed by hostile governors.  Constitutional carry is currently in play in West Virginia, Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota, Idaho, and Maine.  The Utah bill has become dormant.

HB582 will be voted on in the Criminal Justice and Safety Committee hearing on Tuesday, 3 March, 2015, in the House.  Here are the committee members who will determine if the bill lives or dies:

Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee:
John Tholl (R) Chair (603)837-2278
David Welch (R) Vice Chair (603)642-4402

An email from the sponsor of the bill in the House said that these committee members are key:

Shawn Sweeney (R) (603)265-0319
Robert Fisher (R) (802)727-0441
John Martin (R) (603)774-3098
Robert Fesh (R) (603)434-1550
Dick Marston (R) (603)666-7334

And that these committee members are on the fence:

Arthur Barnes (R) (893)475-4754
David Fields (R) (603)528-6224
Timothy Robertson (D) (603)352-7006

An email address that reaches all committee members is this one:


Whether you are for or against the bill, if you decide to contact any or all of the committee members, remember that they deserve to be treated with the same level of courtesy that you would treat anyone else.

I think there is a good chance that the bill will pass the committee, and that it will then pass the house.  It is not so clear that it will be signed by the Governor, who is a Democrat, Maggie Hassan.  She might sign the bill.   Her web page does not mention that she is a Democrat.   Her statements on second amendment issues are slim.

It is possible that this year, as in 2011, there would be enough votes to overcome a governor’s veto.  We will only find out if the committee and the House pass SB116/HB582.

The New Hampshire Senate has 11 Democrats and 13 Republicans.  The House has 218 Democrats and 179 Republicans.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.
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