NH: Off-Road Carry and Background Check Reform Bills Pass Legislature

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Governor Chris Sununu signed Constitutional Carry into law for the state of New Hampshire IMG iStock ID: 884214472

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- In New Hampshire, HB334 was passed by both the House and Senate, and should be sent to Governor Sununu in a few days. The conference committee report was adopted by both the House and the Senate on 24 June, 2021.

HB 334 cleans up some leftover provisions from the Constitutional Carry bill passed by New Hampshire in 2017. There was a separate provision that banned the carry of loaded handguns on off-road vehicles and snowmobiles unless you had a concealed carry permit.

With the passage of the Constitutional Carry, the provision no longer made any sense. HB334 eliminated that ban, as long as the person was legally able to own a handgun.

In the Senate debate about HB334, the Senate added an amendment to bring New Hampshire’s background check system into line with 37 other states which rely on the FBI National Instant background Check System (NICS). Currently, New Hampshire has a group in the State Police that handle background checks for the purchase of handguns, but not long guns. The amendment to HB334 eliminates the State Police intermediary. The language is nearly identical to another bill which has been passed, SB 141.

Both Bills should be sent to Governor Sununu shortly. From newhampshirebulletin.com:

The House and Senate have passed two bills that take background checks on handguns away from the state police and give that job to the FBI. Sheriffs conducting background checks in domestic violence and stalking cases would also have to use the FBI system. The FBI already handles checks on long guns. 

House Bill 334, which passed the Senate and House Thursday, and similar legislation in Senate Bill 141 have been championed by some Republicans and firearm groups who complained the state’s “Gun Line” is inefficient and slow. The bill’s opponents have said the state has improved its process and eliminated long waits.

HB334 passed the House, with the amendment from the Senate on 24 June 2021.  Here are the recorded votes:

In the Senate, 14 to 10 passed on 27 May 2021.

In the House, 212 to 159 passed on 24 June 2021.

Both bills also create a system for county sheriffs to deal with administering NICS checks to determine when firearms shall be returned when orders of protection are ended.

Here is the state analysis of HB334. From state.nh.us:

AMENDED ANALYSIS

This bill creates an exception to the prohibition on carrying a loaded firearm on an OHRV or snowmobile for any person carrying a pistol or revolver who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm by a New Hampshire statute.  The bill also authorizes the FBI to conduct all National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) searches concerning the purchase, sale, and transfer of firearms through Federal Firearm Licensees operating in New Hampshire; abolishes the “gun line” in the division of state police; repeals the state’s partial point of contact system for handguns, allowing the authority to remain exclusively with the FBI; and authorizes county sheriffs to conduct background searches using NICS for the purpose of approving or denying the return of firearms to individuals who are subject to a protective order for domestic violence or stalking; and makes an appropriation to the county sheriff’s offices for hardware and software equipment purchase and training; and abolishes certain positions in the department of safety.

Here is the analysis for SB141. You can see the wording is almost the same as part of HB334. From state.nh.us:

AMENDED ANALYSIS

This bill authorizes the FBI to conduct all National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) searches concerning the purchase, sale, and transfer of firearms through Federal Firearm Licensees operating in New Hampshire; abolishes the “gun line” in the division of state police; repeals the state’s partial point of contact system for handguns, allowing the authority to remain exclusively with the FBI; and authorizes county sheriffs to conduct background searches using NICS for the purpose of approving or denying the return of firearms to individuals who are subject to a protective order for domestic violence or stalking.  The bill also makes an appropriation to the county sheriff’s offices for hardware and software equipment purchase and training.

This correspondent has not found a statement by Governor Sununu, promising to sign or veto these bills. Governor Sununu signed the Constitutional Carry bill in 2017. 

The bills were passed with strong Republican majorities. It is likely Governor Sununu will sign HB334 and SB141. 


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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Russn8r
Russn8r
27 days ago

Because we all can trust the FBI. Way to go Sununu. NOT.

Alan in NH
Alan in NH
27 days ago
Reply to  Russn8r

The NH SP Gunline was just an additional layer of regulation which got in the way of legal handgun purchasers much too often and refused to justify or explain denials in a timely manner, if at all. I also believe there was political corruption and plain incompetence going on as well. For that we Granite Stators had to pay them to do what the FBI NICS system would do for free. Good riddance.

Russn8r
Russn8r
26 days ago
Reply to  Alan in NH

OK

Arny
Arny
27 days ago

Constitutional Carry requires no ones permission. Oh yeah we’re referring to the new constitutional carry. lol

Jonesy
Jonesy
27 days ago

Yes, having passed Constitutional Carry it made damn little sense