FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Zandra Rice Hawkins, (603) 225-2471
Granite State Progress Statement on NH House Committee Vote to Allow Dangerous People to Legally Carry Hidden, Loaded Weapons (SB 12)
House Committee votes to overturn 94 year old New Hampshire public safety law
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee held a public hearing and executive session today on SB 12, which seeks to repeal a 94 year old concealed carry licensing law that helps prevent dangerous people from being able to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:
“New Hampshire is opening the door to allow dangerous individuals with a track record of violence to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons. It is reasonable to deny concealed carry permits to those who are a danger to themselves or others. Requiring a license to carry a concealed weapon has worked well for New Hampshire for more than 90 years. These licenses are very easy and quick to obtain and do not place an unreasonable burden on law abiding citizens. SB 12 is a radical piece of legislation that will jeopardize public safety. The common sense law we have in place now allows local police departments to deny a license when there is reason to believe a person is a danger to themselves or others. For example, if an individual in a community is a known domestic abuser but has yet to be indicted, or has a hot temper and a habit of getting into bar fights, New Hampshire thankfully provides our local police departments with the ability to reject their concealed carry application.”
In testimony Granite State Progress called on state legislators to decide whether they stand on the side of law enforcement and public safety – or with those like Mark Doyon, whose concealed carry license denial was upheld in court:
“In a 2014 NH Supreme Court case, an individual named Mark Doyon sued the town of Hooksett for denying his concealed carry license. Doyon had a prior criminal threatening conviction and an arrest for domestic violence, among other things. He told a Manchester police officer, “If you f.-k with my dog, I’ll f.-king kill you.” The NH Supreme Court noted that on his domestic violence-related simple assault charge: “As part of a negotiated agreement, the town placed the charge on file without a finding, and a criminal bail protective order was entered against the petitioner prohibiting him from contacting the complainant.” On paper, Doyon was not a prohibited person, but in real life, he was not a suitable person to carry a hidden, loaded weapon. The courts sided with the local police department. As members of the committee, you need to decide whether you stand on the side of someone like Doyon, or whether you stand with the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police and other law enforcement who have spoken out against this repeal repeatedly over the years.”
In addition to local law enforcement opposition, in 2004 Senate President Chuck Morse and several Republicans voted against a similar repeal bill. A copy of Granite State Progress testimony in opposition to SB 12 is available upon request, along with more information about how concealed carry laws work. It also includes recommendations for ways New Hampshire can strengthen public safety laws, rather than weakening them.
Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.