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My Turn: State must stand up to the gun lobby

Last modified: 4/11/2015 11:35:02 PM
I am surprised by what is happening up in Concord. I am not political, and I never thought I’d be writing an article addressing a bill. However, I must admit that I am shocked and dismayed at what looks to me like a lack of common sense when addressing concealed carry.

I am a gun owner and a dad who fully supports the Second Amendment, yet I can’t see the logic behind Senate Bill 116. Defeating this bill has nothing to do with the diminishment of my Second Amendment rights; it has everything to do with keeping our communities safer. Why overturn one of the few systems that works –and become just one of five states to strip away any safeguards against dangerous people carrying on our streets?

SB 116 would undermine commonsense public safety measures here in New Hampshire. If passed, SB 116 would completely dismantle our state’s requirement to get a concealed carry permit, allowing people to carry loaded concealed handguns in our towns and cities without getting any type of permit first. Without a permitting process, our local law enforcement would no longer have the ability to deny carry licenses to individuals who are known to pose a danger to themselves or others. This law enforcement authority is a provision that saves lives – a commonsense approach most other states have adopted as well.

Bills like SB 1116 get introduced only because of the gun lobby’s relentless support of policy that is good for them but often bad for our communities. They use the Second Amendment as a wedge. They suggest that if you do not support all the bills the gun lobby puts forth, then you are against the Constitution and somehow less American.

I am here to tell you as a citizen of New Hampshire who supports the Second Amendment and has a concealed carry permit that I still believe in commonsense safeguards that will help keep my family and community safe, such as a permitting system that ensures people have a clean criminal record before allowing them to carry guns in public.

Having grown up in New Hampshire, I am well aware of our long tradition of hunting and our fierce independent streak. I know that access to firearms plays an important role in the lives of many of my neighbors –and it plays an important role in my life.

But the people of New Hampshire also understand that with these rights come responsibilities. We are proud of the basic protections that keep our families safe. The NRA and others would use fear-mongering tactics to suggest even the most basic safety measures will undermine the rights of ordinary gun owners. This could not be further from the truth, and I urge you to ignore the rhetoric.

Let’s make certain that SB 116 is defeated. Urge your state legislators not to cave into the gun lobby. Urge them to stand up for basic public safety by using common sense and keeping our permit system in place.

(Mark Sherwood lives in Sandown.)


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