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Pending Gun Law Change "Ramps Up" Caution for NH Law Enforcement

A measure is awaiting the signature of Gov. Chris Sununu that would repeal the current concealed carry restrictions in the Granite State. (Digital Journal-Wikimedia)
A measure is awaiting the signature of Gov. Chris Sununu that would repeal the current concealed carry restrictions in the Granite State. (Digital Journal-Wikimedia)
February 13, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. -- A change in gun laws is close to taking effect in New Hampshire, and many police chiefs are concerned about its impact on local police officers.

The National Rifle Association has called it an important piece of legislation that will allow Granite Staters to carry firearms in the manner that best suits their needs.

But that position does not sit well with Pat Sullivan, executive director of the New Hampshire Police Chiefs Association. He said he and most of the members of his association support Second Amendment rights, but they are concerned because the pending measure does not include a training requirement.

"Our concern is, at this point, we'll be having officers walking up to cars with everyone with a gun,” Sullivan said. “And it just ramps up the watchfulness and caution that we have to use now when dealing with the public."

Last week, the House of Representatives voted 200-97 to pass Senate Bill 12, which already passed the state Senate. Among those opposing the change is the New Hampshire chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, which is part of Everytown.

Zandra Rice-Hawkins, executive director at Granite State Progress, said one big concern is the lack of safeguards in the measure now awaiting the signature of Gov. Chris Sununu.

"It's important to note that other states that have permit-less carry also have other laws in place, such as firearms training requirements, or restrictions on where concealed-carry is allowed,” Rice-Hawkins said. “But New Hampshire has none of those public safety measures."

Sununu has said he intends to sign the measure, but grassroots efforts are under way to try to get him to reconsider that position.

"Individuals who have a track record of violence will now be able to legally concealed-carry,” Rice Hawkins said. "It's a public safety measure. And that's why we need everyone to call Gov. Sununu and urge him to stand on the side of public safety and veto SB-12."

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH