My Turn: Permitless carry bill is good legislation

For the Monitor
Published: 2/8/2017 12:10:04 AM

A lot of misinformation has been spread about the permitless carry bill under debate in New Hampshire, and it’s time to set the record straight. Most importantly, Senate Bill 12 enhances New Hampshirites’ ability to defend themselves while maintaining penalties for those who break the law.

Right now, any New Hampshirite who isn’t prohibited from owning a firearm can carry that firearm openly – on their hip, or wherever people can see it. But, if that same law-abiding person puts on a jacket or puts the firearm in his or her bag, they break the law. This just doesn’t make sense. A person does not become a criminal because of what they’re wearing. And the government does not have the right to dictate when, and how, citizens can protect themselves.

An out-of-state gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, has engaged in a smear campaign regarding this bill, telling citizens SB 12 would make them less safe. As its name suggests, the group claims to care about gun safety – but it doesn’t offer a single resource to enhance the safe and responsible use of firearms. Instead, using considerable funding by group founder Michael Bloomberg, it pushes for gun control laws that make it harder for everyday citizens to protect themselves.

Bloomberg is the billionaire former mayor of New York City. He’s the guy who tried to ban large sodas, and he’s completely out of touch with the way typical New Hampshire residents live their lives. The irony is that his group pushes into states nationwide and works to restrict gun ownership for everyday citizens while Bloomberg himself stays safe behind a fortress of armed security guards.

Bloomberg’s group claims that permitless concealed carry will make the state less safe. However, there are no facts to back up this claim. There are 11 states that already allow law-abiding individuals to carry concealed without a permit. Two of them are New Hampshire’s neighbors, Maine and Vermont. Data analysis shows no measurable increase in firearm accidents or firearm misuse in those states. This will come as no surprise to responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

This legislation has passed the New Hampshire state Legislature with bipartisan support twice already. Each time, however, the state’s former governor blocked it. The state’s new governor, Chris Sununu, has voiced support for the bill because he trusts his citizens and believes they have the right to protect themselves.

For a lot of New Hampshirites, firearms are a family tradition. They grew up shooting and hunting and they have long been taught how to safely store and operate a firearm. Requiring those people to apply for a permit and jump through government hoops because they’d like to carry while wearing a coat is ridiculous. It’s just another hoop to jump through, another fee to pay.

SB 12 will not allow violent criminals, drug dealers or convicted felons to lawfully carry concealed firearms, as Bloomberg’s group would have you believe. The bill only enhances the ability of law-abiding New Hampshirites to exercise their Second Amendment rights. If a criminal is caught carrying a concealed weapon under this bill, he or she will be charged and go to jail. If a criminal uses a firearm to commit a crime, he or she will be subject to an additional prison term.

This is a good bill and an important one. It lets law-abiding citizens choose what’s best for them in terms of self-defense, and it’s tough on criminals who disregard the law. Don’t let an out-of-state anti-gun group fool you into thinking otherwise.

(Amy Hunter is New Hampshire spokesperson for the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action.)

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