Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NH "Preemption" Accountability Bill Divides 2A Community

"Preemption" -- the notion that the 2nd Amendment and NH's own Article 2-a actually mean what they say, and that, NH not being, for good or ill, what's called a "home rule" state, local communities (and other subdivisions) can only do what Concord has authorized them to do -- was nevertheless officially codified back in 2003 as RSA 159:26.

Sadly, the rule of that law has subsequently chafed certain recalcitrant local officials, who have continued, on occasion, to unilaterally overrule it (such as some police chiefs who feel entitled to modify the one-and-only-authorized/accept-no-substitutes Dept of Safety Pistol/Revolver License application by requiring additional information). HB1749, "relative to the state's authority to prohibit or regulate firearms and relative to the selectmen's authority to manage town property," heard here, 1/10/2018, before the NH House Municipal and County Government Committee, not to put too fine a point on it, is an effort to say, "no, we really meant it, and you will be held accountable." Well, ok then...

Curiously, while we are presented with always-expected objections from self-interested government(-affiliated) actors -- advocacy groups the NH Municipal Association (their testimony, essentially, including the exclamation points, can be found here) and the NH Chiefs of Police Association (hey, now there's a surprise...), and from representatives of a couple of town select boards -- and the always amusing (and usually bemusing) Rep Tim Horrigan, no one actually from the private-sector hoplophobe community even showed up.

Pure bizarre internecine struggle, otherwise, with state gun activists staking out opposing positions. However, there does appear to be some building consensus surrounding a proffered amendment initially presented to the Committee in testimony by Gun Owners of NH, starting at about the 1:04:00 mark. At this juncture, however, it must be officially introduced by a Committee member during their Executive Session (which didn't happen this day) to be considered. So if you have a Representative sitting on the Municipal and County Government Committee, you might want to put a bug in their ear about making sure it's allowed to at least see the light of day and be discussed.

James Gaffney at about 1:36:30 pretty much nails the objective, regardless of the execution: shouldn't government officials be held accountable when they -- perhaps even intentionally -- break the law? Aren't you? Even when maybe it's not intentional? Shouldn't there be some substantive incentive not to break the law? Or does election -- or mere appointment -- make men angels...?

But yeah, it's a concept that really should be applied to government violations of all rights, not just gun rights. I do feel compelled to note here that there are 10 co-/sponsors on this bill, and their average NH Liberty Alliance legislative grade is an A+...

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