GOA’s Legislative Counsel testifies against SB 244 (NH)

Dear Representative Hoell,

I am very opposed to SB 244, but due to work obligations I will not be able to attend tomorrow’s hearing.  I would appreciate it if you would please read this letter into the record and supply a copy to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 244 would set aside any personal privacy considerations about doctor patient confidentiality. Senate Bill 244 would strip law-abiding Granite Staters of their constitutional rights, without due process, for petty reasons, such as the appointment of a guardian under RSA 464-A.

I have had a personal experience with RSA 464-A, when my mother had all of her rights taken away in a “star chamber” /ex parte/ proceeding in the basement of Concord Hospital without the benefit of counsel, notice to the family, or any spokesman for my mother or my family.  Under SB 244, my mother would have automatically had her gun rights stripped without any due process — and had her name sent to the FBI gun-ban blacklist.

The hospital’s doctor told me that they didn’t care what my mother or her family wanted concerning her care.  She was held against her will for four weeks while our family ‘s resources were drained and until we until the family could schedule a hearing in the Probate Court.  By that time, my happy vibrant mother had been turned into a vegetable.

No one has been able to identify any “danger of gun violence” posed by people with Alzheimer’s.  However, many of them have very large and valuable gun collections which they would like to pass on to their children.  SB 244 would set up a scheme where those guns could be seized by the state.

Although RSA 464-A purports to give “victims” due process rights, it is, in fact, widely viewed in legal circles as a joke.

An individual who has his or her rights taken away pursuant to RSA 464-A supposedly has the right to an attorney, but, in fact, that right is regularly waived, even for people deemed incompetent (who wouldn’t seem to be capable of waiving their rights).

The proceeding is an ex parte proceeding in which neither the victim nor his or her family has any representation or right to attend.  It is conducted in places like the basement of Concord Hospital, and is widely viewed in legal circles as a “star chamber” or a “joke.”

Now, on the basis of this “kangaroo court,” you or your relatives could lose all of your gun rights.  And guess what?  If you want to get them back, you will have to plunk down thousands of dollars and bring an action in court.

I was forced to spend over five thousand dollars (in the mid 1990s) just to terminate my mother’s involuntary guardianship. Today, that sum would easily pass $10,000.

It’s bad enough that anti-family bureaucrats are stripping Granite Staters of their rights without due process.  We don’t need to extend this constitutional abomination to abolishing gun rights protected by the Second Amendment.

Similarly, under the emergency provisions of RSA 135C, an individual being treated by a private psychiatrist can be committed, on an emergency basis, as a result of a subjective diagnosis with no due process whatsoever.  Such an individual, if he had any remaining gun rights, would presumably automatically have those gun rights taken away.  And, yes, the involuntary commitment standard contained at RSA 135C:34, which is explicitly incorporated by SB 244, is applicable to an involuntary commitment without a court order under RSA 135C-27.

Accordingly, I urge the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the strongest possible language, to vote SB 244 “Inexpedient to Legislate”.

Thank you for your consideration,

Michael E. Hammond

Dunbarton, NH 03046