The Bulletin Board

Bill aims to block enforcement of gun-related executive orders

By: - April 23, 2021 1:30 pm
A man holding a gun behind his back

A bill headed to the Senate floor would prohibit cities and towns from regulating firearms, including prohibiting guns on municipal property. The proposed legislation would also allow resideents to sue and the governor to remove officials from office if they lost the legal challenge. (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden’s executive orders limiting access to guns could not be enforced in New Hampshire under a bill before the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

The bill would prohibit the state from enforcing any federal orders that restrict, regulate, or place conditions on an individual’s right to have guns. Similar “Second Amendment sanctuary” legislation has passed in several states this year and is pending in many more. 

It passed the Senate, 14-10, along party lines earlier this month. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a public hearing via Zoom on Wednesday. 

Sen. Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican and the bill’s prime sponsor, said he’s received more emails and calls about this bill than nearly any other this session. “Virtually all of them positive,” he said.

Biden issued several gun-related executive orders on April 7, including one seeking to reduce the proliferation of “ghost guns,” homemade firearms without traceable serial numbers. “I think people are expecting more executive orders,” Bradley said.

Asked about a state’s ability to refuse to enforce executive orders, Bradley pointed to sanctuary states and cities that passed similar legislation to block the federal government from enforcing deportation laws. “I think we are on pretty firm ground in terms of saying no if there are executive actions taken that would restrict Second Amendment rights,” he said.

The bill received both support and objections at the Senate’s public hearing in March.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.