Jan 10, 2017 11:18 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – A measure that would make it easier for Granite Staters to carry a concealed weapon passed its first hurdle legislative hurdle on Tuesday.
And after being vetoed the past two years by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, her Republican successor has said he’ll sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.
The state Senate Judiciary Committee, on a party line vote, passed the bill, which would repeal the current requirement of a license to carry a concealed handgun. The three Republicans on the committee, Sens. Sharon Carson, Bill Gannon and Harold French all voted in favor of the measure, with Democratic Sens. Bette Lasky and Martha Hennessey voting against the bill.
State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a co-sponsor of the bill, kicked off the testimony, saying “this is a bill that we’ve heard before. This is a bill that we’re all familiar with.”
And Bradley wasn’t kidding.
Similar measures passed the GOP dominated state Senate and state House of Representatives the past two years, but were both vetoed by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Her predecessor in the Corner Office, fellow Democratic Gov. John Lynch, vetoed similar measures in 2006 and 2011.
But new Gov. Chris Sununu, the first Republican to hold the office in a dozen years, has repeatedly said he’ll sign the measure.
Bradley, in his testimony, said “this is a bill in my opinion that will make New Hampshire a safer state. And it’s a bill that will provide for constitutional protections for law abiding New Hampshire citizens.”
State Rep. Al Baldasaro, urging the senators to vote for the bill, saying “I’m asking you please, give us back our constitutional rights. Let us not have to beg a chief of police to exercise our rights.”
Police chiefs in the Granite State can deny a concealed weapon permit if they feel the applicant is not “suitable,” according to current state law. Representatives of the state’s Chiefs of Police Association, as well as the state Justice Department, did not testify at this year’s hearing, a change from years past.
Former state Sen. Bob Clegg, a lobbyist who said he was testifying as a private citizen in support of the measure, said “there have been people who’ve been denied by chiefs base on their performance at a town meeting.”
And Michelle Levell of the Women’s Defense League detailed the time and expense she went through as she successfully challenged opposition to her concealed carry renewal in Windham.
Some witnesses in favor of the bill testified that open carry of handguns can make some people uncomfortable.
Baldasaro created a minor controversy when talking about Lasky, the co-chair of the committee and the senior Democrat on the panel. Baldasaro said “why would I want to intimidate the weak or people that would get scared like maybe Sen. Lasky, who’s scared if she sees an open carry.”
Baldasaro then said “no disrespect I mean.”
Lasky quickly responded, saying “you underestimate me, representative.”
Opponents: ‘Keep the law the way it is’
Testifying against the bill, Democratic Rep. Tim Horrigan of Durham said “I think the current licensing law is fine. 95% of all the applicants get approved. So I would say keep the law the way it is.”
That message was later echoed by Democratic Rep. Sue Newman of Nashua, who added “I don’t see that keeping the existing law infringes on anything. It should not be any kind a threat or hostile action against 2nd amendment advocates.”
The hearing room was also full of representatives from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety, who opposed changing the current law.
Deb Howard of North Hampton, who was with Moms Demand Action, argued that “this would dismantle current concealed carry permitting system, making it easier for people including criminals, mentally ill, and other dangerous people to carry concealed loaded handgun throughout the state.”
“This is a system that’s been in place in New Hampshire for 90 years. It’s not difficult to get a permit. It does not place an unreasonable burden on law abiding citizens. Removing this permit will not make New Hampshire safe. In fact it will make New Hampshire less safe by allowing dangerous individuals to carry hidden loaded firearms,” she added.
After the committee’s action, Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins said “with this vote, New Hampshire is opening the door to allow dangerous individuals with a track record of violence to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons.”
The measure could be voted on by the full state Senate as early as a week from Thursday. With the bill being sponsored by 13 of the 14 majority Republicans in the chamber, it’s very likely the measure will pass.
52 minutes 31 seconds agoOfficials have identified the NH driver who lost his truck after it fell through thin ice on Lake Winnipesaukee while trying to tow a...
1 hour 56 minutes agoOne man has been arrested and authorities say another is being sought in connection with a gruesome double-homicide in Peabody, Mass. (More)
2 hours 17 minutes agoWolfeboro police have charged a father with endangering the welfare of his "small" son after they served him with a warrant. (More)
3 hours 49 minutes agoOwners of LaValley Farms felt the impact of New Hampshire's extreme drought as they tried to prepare for the spring season. (More)
4 hours 41 minutes agoA homemade aircraft landed upside down after trying to take off from an Alton Bay runway in NH. (More)
5 hours 20 minutes agoA Daniel Webster College basketball player is facing assault charges and a video of the attack of an opponent has gone viral, now the...
5 hours 23 minutes agoSix people were arrested for various drugs charges in the latest Operation Granite Hammer out of Nashua. (More)
9 hours 55 minutes agoHigh-speed chase ends on F.E. Everett Turnpike Sunday night (More)
Feb 19, 2017 3:26 PMThe mother of a student at Pelham Memorial School is questioning the school's dress code for dances. (More)
Feb 19, 2017 1:41 PMFire crews as well as Fish and Game officers are on site in Alton Bay, where a plane flipped over on the ice runway....
Feb 18, 2017 10:23 PMDozens of police officers responded to Daniel Webster College to stop a brawl that broke out during a basketball game on Saturday. (More)
Feb 18, 2017 7:58 PMA 12-year-old New Jersey girl spent Valentine's Day delivering over 1,300 books donated to a children's hospital. (More)
Feb 18, 2017 7:13 PMA snowmobile operator suffered serious, life-threatening injuries after colliding with a vehicle in Jefferson on Saturday. (More)
Feb 18, 2017 2:16 PMA GoFundMe to raise money for a Hampton woman whos five dogs were killed in a fire exceeded its goal in less than 24...
Feb 18, 2017 1:00 PMA man had to be airlifted to a Boston hospital after getting assaulted outside 603 Bar and Lounge in Dover NH. (More)
Feb 18, 2017 12:34 PMA Manchester man who assaulted a family member and locked himself in a bedroom was arrested after a brief standoff on Saturday. (More)
Feb 18, 2017 12:29 PMThe head of NH's Democratic party is ending his bid to lead the nation's Democrats. Ray Buckley is endorsing Keith Ellison of Minnesota for...
Feb 18, 2017 12:19 PMThere has been an outpouring of support from the community after a soldier from Hudson NH was shot in the neck by another Army...
Feb 18, 2017 8:45 AMCONCORD – According to a new national poll, voters are pretty much divided over whether they have more trust in the Trump White House or the reporters that cover the administration. Do you have more trust in the Trump administration or news media? https://t.co/8txcbpOj0N — NH1 News Network...
Feb 17, 2017 9:07 AMThe state Supreme Court has denied the request for a new trial in the case of convicted murderer Robert Breest. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 5:32 PMA Manchester mother was arrested after police said she stabbed her 16-month-old daughter in the back, causing serious injury. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 4:06 PMTwo Rhode Island men have been arrested in connection with the theft of $90,000 worth of diapers. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 2:40 PMLast month, New Hampshire State Police, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, linked Evans to cold cases dating back 30 years in Allenstown....
Feb 16, 2017 1:49 PMPresident Donald Trump says he's chosen R. Alexander Acosta to be labor secretary a day after Trump's first nominee withdrew. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 1:35 PMA 35-year-old man was run over by a fellow snowmobiler leaving him unconscious and bleeding. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 1:25 PMThe family of a Canterbury man killed by police in 2015 is suing the officers who shot him after the New Hampshire Attorney General...
Feb 16, 2017 12:17 PMNew Hampshire will not become the next so-called right to work state. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 12:15 PMA man accused of selling heroin at a Salem Burger King was arrested, along with the woman who drove him to the fast food...
Feb 16, 2017 9:30 AMA Manchester mother was arrested for stabbing her sixteen-month-old daughter in the back, causing serious injury. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 7:54 AMSnow will gradually taper off across the north country by this afternoon, with just a chance for some snow showers tonight. (More)
Feb 15, 2017 11:52 PMNH1 meteorologist Joe Joyce has an inside look at the weather forecast for Thursday February 16, 2017. (More)
Feb 15, 2017 7:04 PMIt was business as usual for Alderman Thomas Katsiantonis, who showed up to hear Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas deliver his FY2018 budget address a...
Feb 15, 2017 5:26 PMSnow capped roofs may look pretty, but they could be a disaster looming above your head. How much that snow weighs may surprise you....