Proposed NH Mental Health Bill Has Gun Rights Groups at Each Other’s Throats

senate_chamber

There’s a family fight brewing up in New Hampshire and like many inter-family fights, this one is getting nasty. At issue is SB 244, a proposed bill in the state senate that would require people with court-determined mental illness to be added to the NICS system as ineligible to purchase a gun from a FFL.  Specifically people who fall into the one of the following categories would have their gun purchase rights suspended . . .

  • Found incompetent to stand trial
  • Found not guilty by reason of insanity
  • Having a court-appointed guardian
  • Involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

I chose the word, “suspended” very carefully because the proposed legislation also has a proscribed and unambiguous procedure by which a person can have their name removed from NICS once their mental health has improved.  Today, there is no practical way to do that as people like James Bryant, a NH resident found out when he suffered a mental breakdown a few years ago and has since been fighting to restore his gun rights.

While the proposed law appears to be carefully constructed with very specifically defined criteria, some advocates already see potential pitfalls.  Michael Skibbie of the Disability Rights Center noted that lawmakers should rethink the list of qualifiers.  Examples he raised is the shoplifter found incompetent to stand trial or the bankrupt person who gets a court-appointed financial guardian; neither of which would qualify as a “dangerous” person.  State Rep. John Burt, R-Goffstown goes even further suggesting that the bill is the start of a movement to disarm the United States, as was done in Australia and England. “This bill will lead to that, I have no doubt,” he said.

What makes this little battle somewhat unusual is the way this proposed bill is playing out with various gun rights organizations.  Gun Owners of NH (GO-NH) is the state NRA affiliate organization.  Pro-Gun New Hampshire is one of the state’s ‘independent’ gun rights organizations and is often seen criticizing the NRA and GO-NH for caving in on gun rights issues.    Finally, there is the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, which bills itself as the state’s “only NO-COMPROMISE gun rights organization.”  Predictably, the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition is against SB 244 as it is against any infringement of any kind.  GO-NH is also opposed to the measure which is surprising given the fact that the NSSF and the NRA-ILA are in favor of the bill.  Most surprising however, is that Pro-Gun New Hampshire has taken a position in favor of this legislation.

The national Gun Owners of America (GOA) group has also waded into the morass. There has been a good deal of nastiness between Pro-Gun NH and GOA with Pro-Gun NH responding to an email blast from GOA that they claim is full of misleading information about SB-44.  It’s worth taking a few minutes to read GOA’s blast and Pro-Gun NH’s response.

Who’s right?  That depends on your own personal position on firearms regulation.  Those who believe that any infringement is unconstitutional will oppose this and other bills like it.  Those who have chosen to accept that regulation of firearms is an unsavory, but unavoidable fact of life will likely take a close look at this bill and see if it offers any real gains in exchange for the new limitations it imposes.

In my mind, the more interesting story is the disagreement between passionate second amendment supporters over this issue.  Even more interesting is that both sides appear to be using the tools of the anti-gun lobby – misinformation, misunderstanding, and mischaracterization of the opposing position to further their arguments with their respective constituencies.

It brings to mind one of Benjamin Franklin’s famous sayings – “We must all hang together or we will surely hang separately.”  I, for one hope that the various gun rights organizations can settle their differences and figure out a way to work together.  Otherwise, the gun rights movement might splinter the way the Republican Party has and we will be left with a weaker bulwark for our rights.

It will be an interesting fight to watch.

comments

  1. avatar CA.Ben says:

    We have had enough “compromise” in this country. I hope they kill this bill dead.

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      Exactly. When you’re thinking about this just keep in mind the following question, when have those that would deny us this right ever operated with any level of ‘good faith’.

      Instead of looking for ways to disarm us, they should be looking for ways to help those that need mental health care. As has been said here many times before, if you can’t be trusted with a gun, you can’t be trusted without a guardian.

      1. avatar Korimyr the Rat says:

        “Instead of looking for ways to disarm us, they should be looking for ways to help those that need mental health care.”

        You mean, like a real universal healthcare system?

        1. avatar CA.Ben says:

          Or a real, capitalist, lightly regulated healthcare system. Who’da thunk that competition brings down prices?

          The govt. is the problem with healthcare, not the solution. They over regulated the system, which drove up prices. They then used high prices as a justification for “universal health care.” Which drove prices up even more. Their next step will be pushing for single-payer.

          Let me ask you something. When has government intervention made ANYTHING cheaper?

        2. avatar Korimyr the Rat says:

          “Let me ask you something. When has government intervention made ANYTHING cheaper?”

          Well, there’s all the countries that *did* implement universal healthcare systems…

        3. avatar Cliff H says:

          Just exactly as “Anything free is worth EXACTLY what you pay for it.” – Robert A. Heinlein,

          “Low cost health care is worth EXACTLY what it will cost you in the end.” – Cliff H

          If you want to discuss government health care talk to all those people from those counties who tried to convince us NOT to go the same route their country’s took. Giving the government absolute control over whether you live or die when you need medical care is idiocy.

          “A well regulated health care apparatus being necessary to the well being of a free state, the right of the people to seek and obtain medical care, shall not be infringed.”

        4. avatar Korimyr the Rat says:

          Who were those people? Tell me about them. Because I have never, *ever* heard of a person from a country with universal health care say they wish their government would abolish it, or say that we should not implement it ourselves. Never. Not once.

          Like all of those claims of Canadians coming to the US for our private healthcare system, I don’t think this is a real thing– I think this is pure, unsubstantiated, and malicious propaganda.

        5. avatar Salty Bear says:

          There’s a difference between the cost of health care and the price.

          http://reason.com/archives/2014/01/13/consumers-should-drive-medicin

        6. avatar int19h says:

          Yeah, it’s pretty funny. Take Canada. Their conservatives are fairly conservative, and then there’s Alberta which they call “Canadian Texas” because of how conservative it is. And Alberta has its own extreme conservative party, the Wild Rose Alliance. And even they fully embrace the public healthcare system.

      2. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

        There is no good faith. They need to make mental health reporting auto- Sunset. Say for guardians every year for people confined every year plead insanity every 5 years. Make it the states responsibility to renew it’s claim that you are a danger , not the other way around.
        Also in the case of guardianship or insanity please ( unless in case of violent crimes ) the judge should have to order your fire arm rights taken away.
        Somebody with a gambling problem for example might need a guardian for there money but posed no real danger to society.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      Are you INSANE?

      (/sarc)

  2. avatar Dracon1201 says:

    I see no problem for the above qualities, and I think that adding an “Unambiguous” way to restore the rights makes this a good bill.

    1. avatar JR says:

      Without looking at the bill…only looking at the above summary…the “court appointed guardian” provision gives me great pause. There are all kinds of reasons a guardian might be appointed that are temporary and have nothing to do with someone being a potential violent actor.

      Further, the danger of a bill like this is not always what is in it, but how the resulting law will be implemented / enforced.

      Finally, a lot of little steps down the slippery slope begin with “I see no problem with …”

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        The “court appointed guardian” provision gives me the willies. This leaves the door wide open for judicial abuse, IMO. We’ve seen this here in the Formerly Free State.

    2. avatar A samurai says:

      I think the scariest category is those found not guilty by reason of insanity. “Found not guilty by reason of insanity” DOES NOT MEAN WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS. It does NOT mean, “oh this person is crazy so they can do whatever they want.” Typically it means that for some reason, argued in the trial, CIRCUMSTANCES created a situation where the defendant was incapable of knowing right from wrong. It IS NOT an implication of someone’s psychological health. Even though everyone seems to think it does. Further more, someone found not guilty by reason of insanity does not lose any of their other rights. They get to walk out of the courthouse and vote and be free like the rest of us. Not Guilty means Not Guilty.
      You cant go imposing a subjective second class of “not guilty” people who were acquitted by a jury of their peers but still are not quite “OK”. Punishing someone for being found NOT GUILTY flies in the face of our whole legal system. And where does it end? If you set the standard that people found not guilty by reason of insanity cant buy guns, why do they get to continue to own guns they bought previously? Or vote? Or walk freely in our society? After all they are “insane” right!? That must mean they are dangerous.
      There are very few things in the Law that are absolute. Everything depends on circumstances, and persuasive arguments, and juries, which are made up of everyday people. The more we start “curtailing rights” of people who have done this or that little thing. The more of these “common sense” punishments we allow in our society the faster we will all become criminals. After all its common sense right?

    3. avatar Will says:

      What bugs me the worst is, “the proposed legislation also has a proscribed and unambiguous procedure by which a person can have their name removed from NICS once their mental health has improved. Today, there is no practical way to do that as people like James Bryant, a NH resident found out when he suffered a mental breakdown a few years ago and has since been fighting to restore his gun rights.” An impractical way, a way designed to be difficult (regardless of ambiguity), is just a means of keeping someone on the no-can-buy/own list.

      Now, while the conditions of losing the rights seems to be fine for the most part, I have to agree with the guardian point being too broad, at least as how it’s described here. Plus the other conditions can be abused as well.

      This bill may have real honest good intent, but I see enough cracks/vulnerabilities that would allow this to be a “slowly boil a frog and he’ll let you boil him to death” step. Ya know, bring up the temp so slow the frog acclimates to the changes, and before he knows it, he’s dead, unlike trying to drop him in water already boiling and he trying to get out any way he can.

  3. avatar Michael B. says:

    It seems like a completely unnecessary bill. IMO, concerns over the mentally ill being able to purchase firearms from FFLs are way overblown and are due to the idiotic hysteria surrounding extremely rare mass shootings.

    It’s more “IF IT JUST SAVES ONE LIFE” nonsense that’ll end up ****ing over people who have had problems in the past but have their lives together now.

    1. avatar A samurai says:

      Amen

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    New Hampshire — the Colorado of New England — has gone full blue. No wonder the Old Man of the Mountain jumped off a cliff.

    1. avatar Marcus says:

      I was there the day before that happened. I swear, I had nothing to do with it.
      I’m surprised at how different Maine and New Hampshire are. If I drive one hour south, I have to pause and look over the NH laws be proceeding. Of course, if I drive another hour, I’ll be in Massachusetts and I’ll never be heard from again.

      1. avatar Jim Barrett says:

        There really are not all that many laws to look over. Plus, its way easier for a Maine (or any other state) resident to get an out of state permit in NH than it is for a NH resident to get an out of state permit for Maine. just compare the out of state applications

    2. avatar MadLarkin says:

      How the hell do you figure? We still have one of the least restrictive state governments in the country, a decided lack of stupid laws and have made some pretty big strides in personal freedom over the last five years.
      You want to know where this bill will go? Nowhere. Want to know where ALL previous attempts at gun control in New Hampshire have gone? The same place, nowhere.

      I’d love for you to elaborate on why we are Colorado. Really, I am waiting.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        An antigun Democrat governor, a divided legislature that voted for SYG in one session and then kicked out the Republicans who passed it and tried to repeal it the next session, and an influx of libturds from a neighboring state — congrats! You’re Colorado.

        1. avatar Jim Barrett says:

          Perhaps. time will tell, however, of all the New England states, NH’s gun laws are the least restrictive. It is a shall issue state and no local law can preempt any gun rights. You can open carry without a permit and obtaining a permit is simple. In fact, if a police chief violates the rules for permit issuance, you can sue him, get your permit and recover all of your court costs. It has been done before. While some may point to Vermont’s Constitutional Carry as the gold standard, bear in mind that silencers are not legal in that state.

        2. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

          Well, Vermont’s Constitutional Carry IS the gold standard when it comes to a lack of infringements on carrying firearms.

          That’s not to say Vermont doesn’t have some other bad laws (re: suppressors) but they do have NH beat when it comes to carry law.

  5. avatar Pedro Of NYC says:

    This Bill is BullSh#t – Bull Excrement – The libs/commies start with mental illness. Since the term “mental illness” is broad the libs redefine the parameters later to include any gun owner who got an aspirin from a walgreens to mean that owner now has a mental illness. That’s what was supposed to happen with the manchin-toomey bill, that’s how the game is played. Time & time again that’s the playbook, they’re gonna say “oh its only this small thing …” next thing you know we’re saying “WTF what happened!!!” Then we’re James Bryant going to court fighting for our rights that was originally ours in the first place.

    1. avatar Nine says:

      Bill that is bullsh!t.

      Billsh!t, new term.

    2. avatar Korimyr the Rat says:

      Hell, the gun grabbers *already* define anyone who owns a gun or wants to own a gun as mentally ill– paranoid, anger management issues, anti-social.

  6. avatar WoodyTX says:

    Sounds like they just need to clarify the language a bit. Frankly, many rights can be curtailed, but only through due process.

  7. avatar Rick Eyerly says:

    if you are too dangerous to have a firearm, then you are too dangerous to be loose on the streets; we already have laws for involuntary commitment for those who are a danger to themselves and others, and you can’t have a gun in the loony bin.

    If you aren’t a danger to yourself and others, then none of your rights should be infringed.

    If you were a danger, but it is determined that you aren’t now and have been released, there’s no justification for losing any rights.

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      Well said.

    2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      That’s not necessarily true. For instance, a mental age of nine might be a sensible barrier to firearm ownership, or schizophrenia, as irresponsible behaviour can go with the territory.

      However, either of the above might be just fine walking the three blocks from the assisted living situation to the store or a sheltered workshop.

      While neither of the above is scary per se, firearms likely shouldn’t enter the equation.

      I don’t see the need for a specific law, however; via due process they can now suspend any and all rights as “needed.”

      Not sensible.

  8. avatar Accur81 says:

    I think the presence of armed good guys is far more important than additional gun restrictions which give the tactical advantage to psychos. This law or others like it wouldn’t have stopped Adam Lanza or James Holmes, so I have no expectation that it will be useful. At the very least, the pro-gun groups should be pushing for an expansion of gun rights somewhere else if they were even to conceive of this as a compromise.

    I don’t see psychos of any sort shooting up gun ranges, but they do seem to have an affinity for gun free zones.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      +1

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      And the police.

  9. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    If the procedure is proscribed, then noone can use it; I think you meant to write ‘prescribed.’

    That said, this is a bit of a shocker, akin to New Jersey coming out against gambling or restrictive liquor laws being proposed in Louisiana.

    Who initially proposed this, and does their name end in D or R? Live free or die, fellas…

  10. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Who’s right? That depends on your own personal position on firearms regulation.

    Wrong. It depends upon the intent at the time the Second Amendment was written. The Constitution is a contract through which the People agreed to be governed. It’s not a friggin’ ‘living, breathing’ document. The proper way to modify the terms of that contract is by constitutional amendment. People like you, Barrett, ARE the problem.

    Yet another Barrett writing. I won’t be subscribing to this topic. A few more of these from Jim Barrett and I’m done with TTAG.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      Oh yeah, it’s Barrett. TTAG’s Dick Metcalf.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      John in Ohio,

      I disagree with Barrett’s mindset as well. And since many people like Barrett think of themselves as totally reasonable gun rights supporters, we need people like you to show them the truth when they are in error.

      Please keep reading and pointing out errors on TTaG. If you or I don’t do it, there may not be anyone else reading that does.

    3. avatar Ing says:

      I disagree. It doesn’t depend on the intent when the Constitution was written — it depends on the Constitution. Evidence of the framers’ intent is good and helpful, but their opinions aren’t law. The written text of the Constitution is the law.

      That said, it all rests first on “shall not be infringed.” That’s not a suggestion, it’s an order. After that there’s the militia clause, which says that the state has an interest in maintaining a “well regulated militia.” Regulated doesn’t mean restricted into oblivion, it means organized, ordered, and properly functioning. The government has been utterly derelict in its duty to maintain a well regulated citizen militia — but keeping guns away from people who are proven unfit to use firearms in defense of themselves or others is arguably constitutional according to the militia clause.

      The devil is in the details, of course. That’s why the pro-gun organizations disagree with each other on this bill. Is it a road to perdition paved with good intentions? A wedge designed to enable later infringement on the rights of the law-abiding? Or maybe (though I doubt it) an honestly good idea?

    4. avatar BillF says:

      I guess there are those who really, really believe that giving an inch, any inch, will stop at that inch. To me, it’s no different than giving up a few points in a football game under the belief that the other team will stop trying to score if you just give them a few points.
      Anyone not familiar with incrementalism and how fast it can work should have a look at the NY Safe Act and the second year agenda.

    5. avatar Jim Barrett says:

      John, I’ve let a few of your comments slide in the past, but now I think it’s time to respond. First of all, what you are saying is that if TTAG doesn’t echo your worldview, then you are going to take your ball and go home. That is a supremely ignorant position to take. TTAG exists to foster the free exchange of ideas. You don’t have to like them or agree with them. In fact, you don’t even have to read them. One of the intentions of those guys who wrote the Constitution was to provide a chance for people with different opinions to be free to express them. To demand censorship of ideas you don’t like goes against the very essence of the Constitution you claim to respect.

      If you look at the writings of the founders of this country, it’s quite clear that there was great disagreement between them over many of thevpoints in the Constitution. At the end, not everyone agreed with, but they founders tried to make sure that all voices were heard. They did not shut some out because they disagreed with them.

      With respect to our divergent views on 2A, you believe that there should be no restrictions of any kind. Many people agree. Many more don’t, which is why the restrictions exist. I’ve expressed my viewpoint in the past and while it may be in the minority here on TTAG, I’m certainly not the only person who thinks that way.

      The story in this post is as much about the disagreement of Pro 2a organizations as it is about the proposed bill itself. Not every 2A supporter feels the same way and if people like you keep antagonistically alientating people who do not subscribe fully to your gospel, you are going to find yourself very alone. You need all 2A supporters, not just the Zealots if you really want to retain and extend the gun rights we have now.

      Read my posts or not. I don’t care. Leave TTAG and you will give up a source of truly useful information. That’s cutting off your nose to spite your face. Fairly foolish.

  11. avatar Pat-inCO says:

    I find two of their restrictions to be within reason.
    1) Found incompetent to stand trial
    2) Found not guilty by reason of insanity
    With a possible third of; Involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

    If they have gone to court and use mental deficiency as
    their reason for not going to jail, they should NOT be
    allowed to buy a gun.

    Since the proposal goes far beyond that, it should not
    be passed.

    1. avatar BDub says:

      I disagree with some of your exceptions. You can be mentally unfit to manage your finances, and still be mentally fit enough to drive a car or defend your home and loved ones. You can be mentally unfit to be left alone with small children, and still be mentally fit enough to defend your life. Context matters, and these laws DO NOT give a crap about context. In that regard they are not unlike the wonderful “zero tolerance” polices we have all witnessed in action – all they do is allow people off the hook for determining/considering REAL CONTEXT.

      1. avatar Salty Bear says:

        Yes. This is the problem.

        A judge does not need any of these laws to do strip someone of their gun rights anyways. These laws only guarantee that you’ll lose your rights in certain circumstances, regardless of the context or your unique situation. They’re like mandatory minimum sentences or, as you said, zero tolerance laws.

    2. avatar A samurai says:

      You don’t understand what “found guilty by reason of insanity” means.

      1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

        Found not guilty.

        1. avatar A samurai says:

          Sorry, Typo.

  12. avatar BDub says:

    There are two camps on this issue; Those that know less than 4% of anyone ever diagnosed with mental illness are violent to themselves, or others (smaller % still), and those who are ignorant of this fact, willfully or otherwise. Mental illness is a legislation is a Faustian bargain.

    Where guns or speech are concerned, never let in legislation that later allows for the institutional redefinition of the terms in question without due process. Otherwise we will all wake up one day and find we all have been classified as mentally ill domestic terrorists.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      Also people who are too stupid and ignorant of history to realize that punitive psychiatry is a thing.

  13. avatar Clem says:

    If bed-wetters are still able to buy guns then I have no problem with it.

  14. avatar A samurai says:

    Whenever Any man’s rights are trodden on, the rights of us all are damaged irrevocably. When the first link of the first chain is forged, it binds us all.

  15. avatar ST says:

    The enemy does not care about due process, the Constitution, or the moral basis of their actions.

    They only want every gun in America secured in a military armory.That’s right, Mr. LEO reading this-they want your duty gun(s) locked up at the station with a ten page triplicate release form attached to it.If you think I’m being extreme, see Europe.

    Any law passed will be used to advance their agenda.Simple as that.

    If the only laws in America were the Ten Commandments, they’d be on a podium saying total disarmament is justified “to prevent coveteousness, and to prevent killing”

    So, if Thou Shalt Not Kill can be warped into supporting the total disarmament of Americans, so can any other law.Which logically means we are best served by keeping the addition of new laws down to a minimum.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      No argument here. “Reasonable” regulation gets us may-issue in CA, the SAFE Act in NY, 5 round mag limits in NYC, and double-registration in CT. What you currently own may make you an instant felon if you don’t get rid of it or beg the government’s permission to continue owning it.

      Once this measure is passed, it paves the way for additional “reasonable” regulations and add-ons in the future. Envision a wealthy politician with the “courage” to take in the NRA and fight for the safety of the children. According to the DiFi / Obama / liberal machine, these regulations don’t infringe upon your rights. Bullsh!t. We need a whole lot less bureaucratic control and more personal responsibility and freedom if we are to succeed as a nation. As it is, the decline if the US continues apace under liberal – progressive control.

      As a cop I can tell you that the mentally ill and criminal element will always be with us. If that was not the case, all your weapons would be perfectly safe locked away at home. The same folks who want complete disarmament are simply looking for legal and “reasonable” ways to make that happen.

      1. avatar BillF says:

        In NY, the LEO carveouts which include prison guards, is meant to divide the gun-owning population. In NY, many LEOs don’t feel they have a dog in the fight since they are unencumbered by most of the restrictions applied to everyone else. A lot of them speak out against the SAFE Act, but not with the same passion as those who are being punished by it. There are exceptions, of course.
        I don’t think many LEOs realize If Cuomo is successful in his effort to disarm citizens, the LEO carveouts will be next to go. Bloomberg never wanted cops to be able to carry their duty weapons home.
        As a cop, what’s your take? Do your co-workers see the divide and conquer at play?

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          I’m pretty much straight up 2nd Amendment and Bill of Rights as the founding fathers intended it. My co-workers are all over the map. Most are pro-gun.

      2. avatar Salty Bear says:

        I was thinking we should change the term “may-issue” into “no-issue” or something like that. The grabbers did it when they made “gun control” into “gun violence” and “gun sense.” And we’re trying to do it with “civilian disarmament.” Why do we call it “may-issue” when we all know darn well that it means “may-apply-but-you’ll-never-be-issued” a license?

        1. avatar Will says:

          How about this term instead: “Rarely Issued.” As in unless you’re one of the elite or in tight in their good ol’ boy club, you’re chance of getting permission to operate under a natural right is practically nil.

  16. avatar detroiter says:

    I must say I give them credit for writing a bill that actually “makes sense” is enforceable, and I generally accept.

    The slippery slope argument is all I need to oppose it, however. Also, more importantly, the exceptions pointed out above also need consideration. I don’t support curbing anyone’s rights except *maybe* violent felons.

    Also to those. Criticizing this post on ttag, sthu. It was a factual post and within the scope of the stated purpose of this website. This is the type of post that leads to useful relevant and civil discussions about facts and possible unintended consequences. These conversations are why I frequent ttag and these comments are a great example.

    Back on topic I question the authors of this bill what would this restriction give to the pro 2a side besides yet another avenue to losing our rights?

    1. avatar Jim Barrett says:

      The proposed bill would provide a clear method for people who have lost their gun rights due to mental illness reasons to get them back. Right now, there is no easy way to make that happen.

      That is one of main problems with the whole NICS system. Once you get on that list, there is no clear way to ever get off of it.

      That said, the slippery slope argument has merit. Once you pass a law with a list of specific disqualifiers, it is much easier to slip ammendments in later that expands the list.

  17. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Simply because it’s another restriction, and a systematic one at that, I’m against it by default. However, something must be done about serious mental defectives getting guns and going on shooting sprees. By “something” I mean something Constitutional, effective and not overreaching. Not just something for something’s sake. Tall order, I know.

    I also know that the crazies will find other means, just as the suicides do. But think of it like this: for every street rat crazy spree shooter who kills with a gun, there come new senseless, useless gun regulations that thwart real people’s right to defend themselves. Those infringements end up costing lives later on, which, in a sense, become the original regulation-prompting spree killers additional victims.

    The fact is that several of the most high profile recent sprees (VA Tech, Tucson, Aurora) were carried out by off-the-freaking-chart psychos who should never have gotten a library card, let alone a gun, through legal means.

    Yes, for monumental mental cases like them, it should be more difficult for them to acquire a gun. How to do that in a very narrowly tailored manner that doesn’t make things worse? I’m not sure, but this bill probably won’t get it right, either.

  18. avatar Ima Yeti (Paul, no not the alien from the movie) says:

    The bill is better thought out than most of what comes out of D.C. I doubt it will pass in the “Live free or die” state.

  19. avatar julian says:

    As a NH resident with bi-polar disorder, I worry that this is the beginning of a slippery slope. Shooting makes me feel better, relaxed, happy. Taking that away would give me one less pleasure in my life.

  20. avatar Ralph says:

    In most states, “not guilty by reason of insanity” means that a person was unable to understand the nature and consequences of his actions, or to know that they were wrong, because of a mental disease or defect. Which means that the person was delusional or disconnected from reality.

    Usually, such people are treated, and maybe confined, until they are “cured” according to the same doctors who didn’t think they were dangerous in the first place.

    And you want them to have guns? Hahahahahahahaha.

  21. avatar Martin B says:

    The history of violence in general (of which mass shootings are a very small subset) does not show a large participation by people with mental illness. In fact, their share is the same as that of people in general.

    By contrast, people with personality disorders feature prominently in violent attacks of all kinds. Whether street crime, sexual crime or gun violence, the majority of offenders have one variety of personality disorder or another. And yet these disorders are not notifiable, nor are these people usually confined to mental institutions (which have dramatically reduced in number compared to 40 years ago).

    So this Bill will achieve very little in practical terms to reduce gun violence. It has missed its true target by a wide margin. This is what happens when ill informed people are entrusted with the task of devising legislation to ensure public safety.

    Psychology is not a real science, not even close. Relying on its practitioners to determine who might or not be dangerous is fraught with danger in the extreme.
    The most trustworthy body to assess public safety is the Police force. They can be relied upon to decide who might be unsafe to be allowed access to weapons.

    1. avatar Jim Barrett says:

      I agree with most of what you wrote save the part about the police determining who is “safe” to own a gun. That is not power they should be entrusted with. One must only look the the number of police chiefs who are appointed by anti-gun politicians because they share the anti-gun view. Many of these police officers create defacto limitations on all people regardless of how dangerous or not they might be.

  22. avatar Mina says:

    “Even more interesting is that both sides appear to be using the tools of the anti-gun lobby – misinformation, misunderstanding, and mischaracterization of the opposing position to further their arguments with their respective constituencies.” <– this is the most interesting statement I read.

  23. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    I fear the almost inevitable abuse of such a law by statists much more than I fear the vanishingly small chance that I will be gunned down by a random nut.

  24. avatar NavyVet73 says:

    Enclosed in an e-mail received from NHFC is a memorandum from Michael Hammond of Dunbarton, NH, which reads in part:

    “MISSTATEMENT #6: “But if a person is wrongfully denied under NICS when their records don’t show a judicial disqualifier under federal law, there is now a simple appeal process to reverse the NICS entry.”

    RESPONSE: It is hard to believe that the writer has ever attempted to correct an erroneous NICS entry, much less attempted to do that in a case where there is legal ambiguity.

    We receive complaints with regularity from people who try to invoke the Brady Law rights, only to be brushed off by the FBI.

    Furthermore, we have discussed this issue with the state’s top pro-gun attorney, and it would take $10,000 for a gun owner with such a grievance to walk through her door. [And, incidentally, lest our attackers have any doubt about who the state’s top pro-gun attorney is, we are talking about the counsel to the New Hampshire NRA affiliate.]”

    I don’t know who among us has $10,000 available to BEGIN to ATTEMPT to overturn a decision to remove their 2nd Amendment rights. I don’t. For people of my modest means, such a perceived “remedy” would, effectively, not exist.

    There are several reasons I oppose such legislation, all of them already stated more eloquently than I could do. I just wanted to add this little piece, as I hadn’t seen it mentioned.

    Great thread, folks!

  25. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

    I had an e-mail discussion once with one of the leaders of Pro-Gun New Hampshire (Sam Cohen). I had read this language that he has on his web site FAQ:

    Q: How do I get a pistol permit in New Hampshire?

    A: You can’t. There’s NO SUCH THING as a New Hampshire “pistol permit.”

    OK, this was a trick question and answer, because it’s my pet peeve. Let me explain: While some other states issue “permits” for concealed carry, New Hampshire issues a license; both NH licensing law (RSA 159:6, “License to Carry”) and the NH license itself (the “Pistol/Revolver License” in your wallet) are careful not to use the word “permit.”

    Although “license” and “permit” have similar dictionary definitions (denotations), they have very different nuances of meaning (connotations). Language influences thought — as Rush Limbaugh says, “words mean things” — and if everyone keeps saying “permit,” people get the idea that you need the government’s “permission” to exercise a fundamental right. How would you feel if you had to ask the government not for a marriage license, but for a “Permit to Marry”? So, please don’t call our NH concealed carry license a “pistol permit” — that’s actually anti-liberty propaganda.

    I tried to point out to him that a “license” and a “permit” are exactly the same thing (they are a government permission slip). When he states “if everyone keeps saying “permit,” people get the idea that you need the government’s “permission” to exercise a fundamental right” … I assume what he is trying to get at is that people shouldn’t become comfortable with the idea that the RKBA is a privilege and not a right.

    However, the government is absolutely turning what should be a “right” into a “privilege” by the requirement to obtain the permission slip, regardless of whether the document is called a “permit” or a “license.” Either one requires obtaining permission from the government, regardless of the term used. My position is that HE is the one who has been fooled by the propaganda, because he’s actually attempting to make some differentiation between a permit and a license, when in reality there is none.

    He suggested I completely missed the point, and stated that if I was a member of his organization, he might find the time to debate the subject with me. After I sent him one more e-mail attempting once again to explain how there’s really no difference between a permit and a license, he replied with the suggestion that I might be autistic (as he pointed me to the Wikipedia page for Asperger Syndrome).

    So … as a result of this conversation, I’m suspicious of anything PGNH says or supports. I don’t trust that organization, and I can’t say I’m completely surprised that they’re supporting a bill that apparently infringes on the RKBA.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, and for some reason it makes sense to differentiate between a “permit” and a “license” … but I don’t think that’s the case.

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