NH: Don’t let pre-emption die in Committee… help needed…

Edited 03/12/2021  — On March 1, 2021 the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted HB 307“ought to pass”.  Please contact your representatives and urge them to vote for HB 307.

A few weeks ago we told you about three important pro-gun reform bills.

But one of them, HB 307, is encountering stiff opposition in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

HB 307 is important firearms preemption legislation that will expand the existing ban on local gun control and, more importantly, will impose penalties on local officials who ignore the preemption law.

We need you to both call the members of the committee and to use our pre-written message to email the committee.

Here’s Where We Stand

Rep. Daryl Abbas (R) is the Chairman of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. He told me that certain members (who he declined to name) were concerned about assigning personal liability, individually, to Select Board Members and School Board Members for violating the preemption law while acting in their official capacity. Many of these board members, like state legislators receive only a de minimis salary and are essentially volunteers.

Chairman Abbas told me that if we were willing to amend the bill to assign the liability to the body politic, as a whole, he could get the bill passed. I discussed the issue with prime sponsor and GOA Life Member Rep. Norm Silber (R) and Rep. John Burt (R) who is the ranking member of the Criminal Justice Committee. Both agreed that towns would likely indemnify members anyway so why not just assign the liability to the town.

Remember, we already have a firearms preemption law but it lacks an enforcement mechanism. The idea behind HB 307 was to enact a strong firearms preemption law that will stop illegal local gun control — once and for all. The penalties were included in case rogue officials refuse to obey the laws enacted by the General Court. The intention is to discourage law breakers through voluntary compliance.

It is vitally important that we have a clear set of laws and rules that are consistent statewide. Gun owners have a right to know that the conduct which the General Court has deemed lawful is lawful everywhere in the state.

Rep. Silber and Rep. Burt cosponsored an amendment to HB 307 (2021-0411h), and we had every indication that the amendment would have been voted “ought to pass” at an “Executive Session” last Friday, February 26.

That did not happen because Chairman Abbas allowed the Committee to be bulldogged into putting off voting on HB 307 by weak Republicans and anti-gun Democrats. We expect HB 307 to come up at the March 3, Committee meeting.

This is where you come in. Please call Chairman Abbas at (603) 560-1929 and urge him to stop the delays and obstructionism, and to allow HB 307 to be debated and voted on by the Criminal Justice Committee on March 3.

Please click here for a full committee roster. Time is of the essence, please call the committee members and urge them to vote “ought to pass” on the amended version of HB 307. Again, the amendment is 2021-0411h and was brought to the committee by Reps. Burt and Silber.

Please remember to be polite but firm when you contact the members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to urge them to amend, then vote “ought to pass” on HB 307.

After you have made the phone calls, please use the above form to email to all members of the Committee and urge them to vote the amended version of HB 307 as “ought to pass” on March 3.