NH: Constitutional Carry, SB 12, passes House Committee

By Dean Weingarten

New Hampshire Live Free or Die
New Hampshire Live Free or Die
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)-The New Hampshire House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety has passed SB 12.  SB 12 is the New Hampshire permitless or “Constitutional carry” bill for 2017.

The New Hampshire legislature has passed permitless “Constitutional carry” both of the last two years. Both times the bill was vetoed by Democrat governor Maggie Hassan.

Now, early in the session, the New Hampshire Senate has passed SB 12-FN.  It passed the Senate with a healthy 13 to 10 margin, defeating two attempts at amendment, on January 19, 2017.

The next stop is the New Hampshire House. The NH House is one of the largest legislative bodies in the states, for one of the smallest states (in population). There are 400 seats in the House, with an adult population of 1.052 million.  So there is one representative for each 2,630 people.

The first stop in the House was the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The hearing was held today, February 1st, 2017 and SB 12 passed, with a vote of 12 to 8 for the bill.

New Hampshire is bordered on the East by Maine and on the West by Vermont. Both of those states have Constitutional carry.  If, as seems likely, New Hampshire repeals the permit infringement on bearing arms, people will be able to exercise their right to bear arms from the border of Massachusetts and New York all the way to the northern tip of Maine, without a permit.

Many residents of states with the most infringements on Second Amendment rights, such as New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, maintain a residence in Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine, where they can escape some of the governmental restrictions.

New Hampshire's requirement for a carry permit was passed about a hundred years ago as “progressive” ideas swept the nation.  Those laws are being repealed as evidence accumulates that they did more harm than good. Opponents say that they are an infringement on Second Amendment rights.  In January, 2016, the bill passed the New Hampshire House  206 to 146.  Republicans voted for the bill, Democrats, with a few exceptions, against.

After the 2016 election, Democrats gained a few seats. In 2016, there were 157 Democrats and 230 Re3publican. In 2017 there are 174 Democrats and 226 Republicans.  SB 12 is still likely to pass the House.

The new Republican Governor, Chris Sununu, said that he would sign the Constitutional carry bill. From concordmonitor.com:

Sununu is not a gun owner but said he would sign a bill doing away with the need for concealed carry permits.

It is likely that New Hampshire will become the first state to move to permitless or “Constitutional carry” in 2017.  All 10 states that have moved to Constitutional carry had gone to a “shall issue” carry permit before moving to permitless carry.  All 10 have kept their “shall issue” permit system in place. This is done for the convenience of the armed public.  Vermont always had permitless or “Constitutional carry”, and never initiated a permit system.

Permits are useful for reciprocity with other states.  Half of the states in the Union allow carry permits as an alternate to the NICS instant check system. New Hampshire is not one of those states. That may be a reform for future years.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 9 thoughts on “NH: Constitutional Carry, SB 12, passes House Committee

    1. I attended the house hearing and testified. Here are the facts. At any given time there are prohibited people carrying guns-always has been.This law does not give any inference that anyone may now carry. On the contrary the text states an individual must not be prohibited under both federal and state law in order to carry. It is a step forward in that it finally defines who is able to carry-anyone who is not prohibited under federal and state laws. The law keeps the issue permit which is required by some states for reciprocity. The bill eliminates the term “suitable” person and instead states permits will be issued to those not prohibited under state and federal law. It makes no difference to a felon that the law says he or she can’t carry. It’s a felony for a felon to merely possess a gun let alone carry.

      1. Okay maybe you can clear this up for me, I’m currently a concealed carry permit holder, does this constitutional carry mean I won’t have to renew it/pay for a new one and can continue to carry as long as I’m not a felon?

        I don’t mean to sound dence , I just want to be completely clear on this because if I don’t have to renew it I’d like to know lol.

        1. Hi Chris, it’s not law yet but should be soon. The Governor has 5 days, not including Sundays, to sign it into law after it has been delivered to his office. If he sits on it, it becomes law. Effective date is immediate. I guess it will be law before March 1.

    2. Some concerns with a permit less carry are, 1. How can we be sure the one carrying is not a criminal ? 2. How will we know if the person carrying is a legal citizen ? 3. Is the persons intention to carry for the right reason. Don’t misunderstand I feel this is a great move forward if only for the right reason. Congratulations NH.

      1. Papa214,

        1. You don’t. “Shall issue” permits don’t necessarily tell you either. OTOH, if they buy if from an FFL, you have to show a NH DL and there’s still the NICS check (a system with many flaws).
        2. You don’t. And, according to the Progs, it’s racist to even ask. (Also, see above.)
        3. You never know what’s in the hearts of men. Only the Shadow does.
        So why do you think that this is a “great move forward” as your questions suggest that it’s a step backward?

      2. 1. Criminals who are going to carry already are 2. Illegals are criminals so if they were going to carry they alreday would have been. 3. Why do we need a reason?

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