AP Photo/Jim Cole

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has vetoed three gun control bills  passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature earlier this year, including a “universal background check bill” and legislation that would have instituted a three-day waiting period for all retail firearms purchases and transfers. In his veto statement, Sununu said none of the bills would “prevent evil individuals from doing harm“, and would impact law abiding citizens far more than they would impact criminals.

“These three bills would not solve our national issues nor would they prevent evil individuals from doing harm, but they would further restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding New Hampshire citizens,” Sununu wrote in his single veto message on all three bills.

“Our focus as a nation must be on addressing the root causes of hate and violence,” Sununu wrote. “Here in New Hampshire, we have taken multiple steps to address our mental health needs and to build a more welcoming and tolerant state.”

Sununu elaborated on those steps, which include a new unit in the state’s Attorney General’s office focused on prosecuting hate crimes, as well as efforts to rebuild the state’s mental health services.  The governor also noted that New Hampshire’s violent crime rate is among the lowest in the nation, and the state constitution offers strong protections for the right to keep and bear arms.

Sununu wrote, “New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the nation, and we have a long and proud tradition of responsible firearm ownership. Our laws are well-crafted and fit our culture of responsible gun ownership and individual freedom.”

The governor cited Part I, Article 2-a of the New Hampshire Constitution, which states, “All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families and their property and the state.”

“This language provides what many believe to be more expansive legal protections for gun ownership than the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution,” he wrote.

The Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety had been airing ads across the state urging voters to contact Governor Sununu and demand he sign the gun control bills, which were sent to his desk on Monday of this week. Even as gun control groups were ramping up the pressure on the governor and politicians around the country, Sununu remained quiet about his plans for the bills. Friday afternoon, he sent a message that should be heard loud and clear: if you want to take on violence, I’ll be right by your side. If you want to weaken our constitutionally protected rights in the vague hope that it will impact criminals, however, you’re on your own.

I hope every New Hampshire 2nd Amendment supporter reaches out to the governor to offer him thanks for standing firm. I’m sure the media is going to try to tear him to pieces because of his vetoes. We’ve already seen a number of lawmakers this week suddenly express support for gun control laws out of political expediency, but Governor Sununu stood by the constitution of his state and nation instead of grabbing some good press at the expense of individual rights.