New Hampshire: Constitutional Carry, SB 12, passes House Committee

The New Hampshire House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety has passed SB 12.  SB 12 is the New Hampshire permitless or “Constitutional carry” bill for 2017.

The New Hampshire legislature has passed permitless “Constitutional carry” both of the last two years. Both times the bill was vetoed by Democrat governor Maggie Hassan.

Now, early in the session, the New Hampshire Senate has passed SB 12-FN.
It passed the Senate with a healthy 13 to 10 margin, defeating two attempts at amendment, on January 19, 2017.

The next stop is the New Hampshire House. The NH House is one of the largest legislative bodies in the states, for one of the smallest states (in population). There are 400 seats in the House, with an adult population of 1.052 million.  So there is one representative for each 2,630 people.

The first stop in the House was the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The hearing was held today, February 1st, and SB 12 passed, with a vote of 12 to 8 for the bill.

New Hampshire is bordered on the East by Maine and on the West by Vermont. Both of those states have Constitutional carry.  New Hampshire’s requirement for a carry permit was passed about a hundred years ago as “progressive” ideas swept the nation.  Those laws are being repealed as evidence accumulates that they did more harm than good.

Opponents say that they are an infringement on Second Amendment rights.  In January, 2016, the bill passed the New Hampshire House  206 to 146.  Republicans voted for the bill, Democrats, with a few exceptions, against.

After the 2016 election, Democrats gained a few seats. In 2016, there were 157 Democrats and 230 Re3publican. In 2017 there are 174 Democrats and 226 Republicans.  SB 12 is still likely to pass the House.

The new Republican Governor, Chris Sununu, said that he would sign the Constitutional carry bill. From

Sununu is not a gun owner but said he would sign a bill doing away with the need for concealed carry permits.

It is likely that New Hampshire will become the first state to move to permitless or “Constitutional carry” in 2017.  All 10 states that have moved to Constitutional carry had gone to a “shall issue” carry permit before moving to permitless carry.  All 10 have kept their “shall issue” permit system in place. This is done for the convenience of the armed public.  Vermont always had permitless or “Constitutional carry”, and never initiated a permit system.

Permits are useful for reciprocity with other states.  Half of the states in the Union allow carry permits as an alternate to the NICS instant check system. New Hampshire is not one of those states. That may be a reform for future years.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch


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