CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — It’s official! New Hampshire Senate Bill 116 (permitless concealed carry) has reached the desk of our beloved Governor Maggie Hassan.
As the current bill reads, it would make New Hampshire a constitutional carry state right alongside Vermont (and soon Maine). As a New Hampshire resident, I am horribly excited by the prospect of this. As an avid mountain climber, I would love to be able to carry a concealed firearm along the Vermont-Maine stretch of the Appalachian Mountains.
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.
This is also great for those who love ATV mountain rides and plenty of other outdoors activities that carry us from Montpelier to Bangor.
Are New Hampshire’s Current Permitting Laws ‘Racist’?
When SB 116 first cleared the Senate and began its fateful approach to the Governor’s desk, our governor published a statement saying she thought the old way of doing concealed carry permitting was best.
But it’s not. As Evan Nappen pointed out in his column in the Union Leader, the old ways were designed to keep concealed firearms out of the hands of “unsuitable persons”. Nappen alleges that “unsuitable persons” refers to nothing less than language to allow racism to run rampant at the issuing authorities.
In New Hampshire, the chief of police is the issuing authority unless a resident lives in an unconsolidated area – in which case, it’s the sheriff.
Now, as a long time New Hampshire resident, I believe Nappen’s assessment may have been a little rash but the actual point remains: “unsuitable person” is not a definition. And in the absence of a definition, it’s subject to wild interpretation.
Nonetheless, keeping a permitting law that can effectively stop law-abiding citizens from carrying a concealed, loaded firearm is a horrible idea. Especially when the prospect of dispensing with the hoopla and getting right to the constitutional right is still at hand.
If approved, we’ll still have to get a LTC (License To Carry) permit for out-of-state transit but those licenses will last twice as long. Maybe one day we can even work up to reciprocity with more states! Sorry, that last part was sarcasm. Massachusetts and New York would barricade us in if it happened.
Action Is Needed – Help Advance Constitutional Carry!
This is the somber part of the conversation. Governor Maggie Hassan is a decent governor. That’s why I’m hoping we can convince her to move ahead with SB 116 and give a necessary right to so many good hearted citizens of our country. It’s one step forward in recognizing that permitless concealed carry should be a possibility for all law abiding citizens.
If you’re a New Hampshire resident, please do call Hassan’s office at (603) 271-2121 or send her a wonderfully eloquent letter at (FAX) (603) 271-7640. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.
And if you’re not in New Hampshire, here’s your chance to let our governor know how much you think this is a great idea. And it is! Not only does it mean you can come up here and meander from Vermont to Maine without having to worry about a permit, it means we all owe you a gallon of maple syrup* or at the very least our sincere thanks.
DISCLAIMER: Gallon of maple syrup subject to restrictions. Supplies are limited. See Concord, NH, for rules and regulations.