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Lawmakers Return with Gun Sale Background Check Bill Pending

PHOTO: As New Hampshire lawmakers get back to work, one bill pending (HB650) would require background checks for all commercial advertised gun sales. Credit: Wiki Commons
PHOTO: As New Hampshire lawmakers get back to work, one bill pending (HB650) would require background checks for all commercial advertised gun sales. Credit: Wiki Commons
March 2, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. – Lawmakers get back to work today in Concord, and among the bills pending is one that would require criminal background checks for all commercially advertised firearm sales.

Rep. Katherine Rogers (D-Merrimack) says Granite Staters already go through background checks at gun stores, but not when they buy at a gun show or through a private sale. This bill would close that loophole.

"This would provide that you would have to, if you're not personally known to the person you are purchasing the gun from, that you would have to go to a federally licensed dealer and have a background check done," she explains.

Lawmakers defeated a similar measure in 2014, but Rogers says this year's version has an unprecedented 70 bipartisan co-signers.

During debate before the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, opponents argued that the state has not experienced major crime problems as a result of illegal gun sales, but Rogers says lax gun laws in the state do impact crime in the region.

"We're a high gun trafficking state where guns used in other state's crimes are traced back to New Hampshire, because New Hampshire is known as a state where it's easy to buy a gun in a private sale,” she points out. “It's not a magic solution to anything, but it would slow that down and make it less of that kind of thing happening."

Opponents also say the proposal is unfair in limiting the right to own firearms.

Rogers counters most rights come with limitations. She says people have the right to vote, but they still need to show identification to exercise that right.

The next step in the process is for the House Committee to vote on the measure.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH