The New Hampshire Legislature is considering a bill that would do away with the requirement to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm.
The bill, Senate Bill 454, eliminates all government involvement in a person’s decision to carry a concealed pistol or revolver.
Gun-rights groups are encouraging New Hampshirites to contact their state senators to urge a “yes” vote.
Gun Owners of America notes the proposed law “allows Granite Staters to protect themselves, their businesses and their families.”
“The legislation is patterned after a system currently used in Vermont – which, along with New Hampshire, is one of the safest states in the country,” the organization said in its appeal.
State Rep. Packy Campbell, a Republican, testified last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of the bill. The lawmaker said he still has two bullets in his body from an attack while he was denied a permit to carry a gun to defend himself, reported the Manchester Union Leader.
About a decade ago in Washington, D.C., a man who had attempted to rob Campbell and against whom he was planning to testify tracked him down, shot him in the head, back and arm, and left him for dead. The paper reported Campbell said at the time he had been unable to get a concealed-carry permit.
“You don’t have a lot of victims of violent crime come and testify on bills like this, because most victims of violent crimes are dead,” Campbell said. “We have a simple right to protect ourselves. This is a very real issue for me.”
The bill was opposed at the hearing by the New Hampshire Police Association, the New Hampshire Women’s Lobby and the Million Mom March of New Hampshire, the Manchester paper reported.
Laurel Redden, board chairman of the state chapter of Million Mom March, was quoted as saying, “Instead of looking to get rid of our system of permits, responsible lawmakers should be seeking ways to improve gun laws so that only law-abiding citizens are able to secure and carry a firearm in the first place.”
Countered Norman Bernier of Concord, N.H., at the hearing: “Society is safer when criminals don’t know who is armed.”
An editorial in the Union Leader argues the law would benefit those residents who need immediate protection from a threat:
“Citizens who are given a sudden reason to fear for their safety would be the primary beneficiaries of SB 454. For example, this winter saw a rash of rapes in central Manchester. No one has been charged with those crimes, and the perpetrator probably remains at large. Under current law, Manchester women who want to stash a pistol in their purse for self-protection have to wait for their permit applications to go through. Advantage: rapist.”
The committee did not make an immediate recommendation on the bill.