The Bulletin Board

House committee backs ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ bill

By: - April 28, 2021 4:43 pm
A man picks up a handgun at a gun store

Since 1993, New Hampshire has had a state-run system called the “Gun Line” to help oversee purchases of handguns in the state. (Getty Images)

A House committee voted, 11-10, Wednesday to join Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, and several other states in barring state enforcement of any federal executive orders restricting Second Amendment rights. 

The Senate already passed Senate Bill 154, 14-10, along party lines. It now heads for a vote in the full House. 

The so-called “Second Amendment sanctuary” bill had the support Wednesday of several gun rights groups that see President Joe Biden’s April 7 gun-related executive orders as a threat to their constitutional right to bear arms. These include an order to reduce the proliferation of “ghost guns,” homemade firearms without traceable serial numbers. 

Opponents of the bill said it prioritized gun rights over public safety and will land the state in court.

“This will not pass muster,” said Rep. Debra Altschiller, a Stratham Democrat. “It’s a lawsuit in the waiting.”

Alan Rice, state director of Guns Owners of America, was among several gun rights advocates to testify in support of the bill.

“We’re not in favor of violence. We’re not in favor of bloodshed,” he said. “This bill prevents cooperation by state and local law enforcement of wholesale gun confiscation of legitimate licensed gun dealers and harassment of legitimate firearms owners who have done nothing wrong, except perhaps assemble a firearm at home, which has been done for over 200 years of our republic.”

At a prior hearing Wednesday on an unrelated gun bill, Rice said victims of domestic and other types of violence should buy a gun, take a firearms course, and “take responsibility for their own personal safety.”

Tracy Hahn-Burkett, speaking on behalf of the Kent Street Coalition, a Concord political advocacy group, told the committee the bill will increase the more than 150 firearm deaths in New Hampshire in 2019 (85 percent were from suicide).

“This bill is explicit in its intent to protect guns,” she said. “But nowhere does it mention any desire to protect people.”

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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.