Three New Hampshire states representatives have proposed a bill that would remove restrictions for persons who can legally own a firearm to carry it them in a concealed fashion without needing a separate license, reports the Concord Monitor. “New Hampshire law requires gun owners to obtain a separate license from their local law enforcement officials if they want to carry the firearm concealed, in a holster under a coat, for example. The new law would eliminate the licensing requirement, allowing anyone who can legally purchase a gun to carry it out in the open or concealed.” . . .
“(This bill) doesn’t expand the number of people that are legally entitled to carry weapons, nor does it expand the number of weapons that are already legal in the state,” said Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican who is the bill’s prime sponsor….
Eliminating the additional license is estimated to cost the state $900,000 in fees.
After a quick scan of SB-116, it appears that the bill won’t eliminate the licenses altogether, but remove the requirement for the license to carry a concealed firearm in the New Hampshire. That means residents could continue to obtain and use licenses to carry in states that have reciprocity with the Granite State.
That would act as a little bit of a firewall against efforts by anti-gun pols in other states to restrict non-residents from carrying on non-resident permits that were issued by a third state (like Utah). This is something that Vermonters, whose state has ‘constitutional carry’, but no licensing schema, have to contend with.
(I’m sorry, after thinking through and writing that last paragraph, I just have to take a break for a mocking laugh at people who think owning and carrying a firearm somehow involves less regulation than owning and driving an automobile. Okay, I’m good now, thanks. Back to the article.)
Anyway, the chief of police of Tuftonboro, Andrew Shagoury, expressed his displeasure with this proposed civil rights measure.
“It gives an element of surprise,” said Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury, who spoke at Thursday’s hearing on behalf of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police.
Federal law prohibits felons, fugitives, people with mental illness, people who have been convicted of domestic violence or drug addicts from purchasing guns. But the permitting process gives police officers an added layer of discretion over who should be able to carry their guns out of sight. An officer, for example, could deny a concealed carry license to someone who has gotten into a bar fight or been repeatedly accused of domestic violence but never convicted, Shagoury said.
“Here’s the guy who goes out to the bar on Friday nights, gets hammered and he gets into fights — he’s not a felon,” Shagoury said. “He’s going to be able to get a concealed weapon. I would say this guy shows poor discretion.” (Emphasis added).
Ah yes, “discretion”. That’s the thing civil servants typically shouldn’t be able to use in determining who can or can’t exercise their civil rights.
It’s more than a little astonishing that Shagoury mentioned a list of people who are prohibited by federal statute from purchasing or owning firearm…and then went on to say that the list apparently isn’t long enough. And that his officers should be able to have their own input into the process.
We can spend a long night drinking glasses of Armagnac and talking about whether or not anyone who isn’t currently incarcerated or institutionalized should have the ability to exercise their civil rights to vote, own and a gun, or live wherever they want immediately upon release. But if we’re going to go down that path (which, for good or ill, we currently are,) the question of who does and doesn’t get to exercise their civil rights can’t be left up to the gaseous standard of “I would say this guy shows poor discretion,” offered off-the-cuff by a police officer.
How on Earth did we get to the point where we’re asking civilian police for permission to exercise our rights?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, indeed.