Friday, February 24, 2017

N.H. joins states allowing residents to carry concealed guns without permit; even at schools

New Hampshire gun owners can now carry concealed firearms without a permit, Dave Solomon reports for the New Hampshire Union-Leader. Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican who took office last month, signed into law Wednesday a bill that allows anyone who legally owns a gun to "carry it in a concealed fashion without a permit from their local police chief." It was the first bill Sununu has signed into law as governor.

Sununu told reporters, "SB 12 ensures New Hampshire citizens are guaranteed the fundamental right to carry a firearm in defense of themselves and their families, as prescribed by our state constitution. This is about safety. This is about making sure that the laws on our books are keeping people safe while remaining true to the Live Free or Die spirit that makes New Hampshire the great state that it is.”

Katie Zezima reports for The Washington Post, "At least 11 states have passed laws allowing the concealed carry of guns without a permit, and 16 states have introduced legislation this year to do the same, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Rifle Association. Gun rights advocates see the laws as the next frontier in Second Amendment rights. But the legislation has been controversial in many places where it has been introduced, with law enforcement members, politicians and gun proponents arguing that the bills go too far."

New Hampshire lawmakers have been battling over concealed carry for nearly 30 years, Solomon writes. "Concealed carry was before the Legislature for the third time in three sessions. The past two attempts passed with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, but were vetoed by then-Gov. Maggie Hassan," a Democrat. This time around the bill passed the House "by a wide, bipartisan margin, 200-97. The 13-10 vote in the Senate was along party lines, with Democrat opposed."

Concealed guns can now be carried on school grounds in New Hampshire, but only by adults, Kevin Landrigan reports for the Union-Leader. "The federal Gun Free School Zones Act of 1996 made it against federal law for an adult who is not a member of law enforcement to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of public, parochial or private schools." But New Hampshire does not have a state gun-free school zone law, so the law could not be enforced in the state.

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