NH: Fish and Game Bill Poisoned with Bad Text

When I was a staffer in the United States Senate, I made sure that I read every bill that came to the Senate floor. 

Like the anti-gun provisions buried deep in the omnibus appropriations act this past month, the nastiest affronts to the Constitution are stuck deep into bills dealing with other subjects. 

Lo and behold, a New Hampshire Fish and Game bill pending before the General Court (H.B. 490) has a ticking timebomb:  It would replace New Hampshire’s current definition of “firearm” and related terms with a much broader federal definition, which contains parts, silencers, etc.  

New Hampshire law has several definitions of “firearm” or similar terms, but they all revolve around the gun, rather than parts and accessories. 

Current NH law defines “firearm” as: 

“Firearm” means any weapon, including a starter gun, which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. 

It also defines “deadly weapon” thusly:

V. “Deadly weapon” means any firearm, knife or other substance or thing which, in the manner it is used, intended to be used, or threatened to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.

The amendment to HB 490 would replace these with the new federal definitions of “firearm.” 

18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3), specifically includes: 

(A) any weapon, 

(B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon, 

(C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer. 

In addition, the Biden administration is expanding the definition of firearm to include “firearms kits” and “ghost guns.” 

GOA will soon be suing to challenge that rule.  And a year from now, we will know a lot more about what “firearm” means for the purposes of federal law. 

In the meantime, it’s much too dangerous to incorporate the federal definition as New Hampshire’s definition until we know what the implications of the federal definition are. 

We urge that H.B. 490 be killed.