Petition, complaints target House members who voted to repeal N.H.’s “stand your ground” law
Republicans upset with the House’s vote last month to repeal New Hampshire’s “stand your ground” law have filed a formal petition and criminal complaints against the 189 representatives who voted for the bill.
The “Emergency Petition for Redress,” filed Tuesday with the House clerk, alleges the 186 Democrats and three Republicans “breached the public trust” and violated their oaths of office by voting for House Bill 135, which would reverse a 2011 change to the state law governing the use of deadly force in self-defense.
(The bill passed the Democratic-controlled House on March 27 by a five-vote margin. It’s now awaiting action by the Senate, where Republicans hold a 13-11 majority.)
The petition seeks “the immediate removal from office of these 189 disqualified members” and “the immediate nullification of any of the votes these 189 members have cast during their current term in office.”
It’s sponsored by three Republican representatives – Rep. John Hikel of Goffstown, Rep. Lenette Peterson of Merrimack and Rep. Al Baldasaro of Londonderry – and will likely be debated when the House meets next on April 24.
“The goal is to identify that people are voting against people’s constitutional rights,” Baldasaro said.
House Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff, a Penacook Democrat, sponsored the repeal bill.
“It’s their right to file a petition, and we’ll see where it goes,” Shurtleff said. “But this has no merit to it.”
House Minority Leader Gene Chandler, a Bartlett Republican, said yesterdayFriday he hadn’t read the petition, but said he and other House GOP leaders aren’t involved.
“It has nothing to do with the caucus leadership in any form,” he said.
In addition to the petition, former state Republican Party chairman Jack Kimball announced on Facebook that criminal complaints were filed Thursday with the Hillsborough and Strafford county sheriffs’ offices against Shurtleff and the 188 other representatives who voted for HB 135.
“All of the state reps (Democrat & Republican) that voted to repeal the ‘stand your ground’ law have violated their oath of office and should be removed. . . . We the people have had enough!” Kimball wrote.
Hillsborough County Sheriff James Hardy confirmed yesterdayFriday that he’d received the complaint.
“After taking a look at it, I do not anticipate taking any action,” Hardy said.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)