(Springfield, VA) -- New Hampshire could become the third state in the union to allow its citizens to carry firearms without permission of the government.

"Criminals don't apply for permits," said Erich Pratt, GOA's Director of Communications. "Why should criminals have more 'rights' than law-abiding citizens?"

Both SB 454 and HB 1271 would allow citizens in the Granite State to protect themselves and their families by carrying concealed firearms. They would be able to do this without submitting to background registration checks or other onerous infringements. The outlook for these bills appears very good.

"Gun haters will falsely claim that allowing more citizens to carry firearms will lead to shootouts in the streets," Pratt said. "But Vermont has operated with this kind of law for years, and it is the safest state in the nation."

Just last year (2003), Vermont earned the Safest State award from the Morgan Quitno Press -- a group of statisticians who rank each state according to its safety record.

"Vermont has consistently had one of the lowest crime rates in the nation," Pratt said, "as it has earned this 'Safest State' award three times in the last ten years.

"Concealed carry works. Allowing honest people to carry guns is a huge deterrent to criminals, who prefer to prey upon unarmed victims. New Hampshire should be praised for moving to restore the Second Amendment rights of its citizens," Pratt said.

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