Little Chance Of NH Red Flag Law's Veto Being Overridden

When New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the red flag bill earlier this year, anti-gun activists had exactly one option remaining. They’d need to muster enough votes for an override.

Of course, overriding a veto is rarely an easy thing. The process is put in place for a reason–namely to put a check on the executive branch’s power–but they’re typically rare things by design. After all, the veto is the executive branch’s check on legislative power. Plus, since so many bills barely skate through the legislature, it’s unusual enough people will change their vote just to override a veto.

It doesn’t make much sense.

And yet, that was the anti-gunners last, best hope for this legislative session.

Well, things don’t look good for them.

rom increasing the minimum wage to allowing more small, renewable energy producers to sell electricity to utilities, lawmakers will have a final chance Wednesday to put their stamp on the tumultuous 2020 legislative session.

The House meets at 10 a.m. at the Whittemore Center on the University of New Hampshire’s Durham campus, while the Senate meets in Representatives Hall at noon to attempt to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s 22 vetoes, or more than a third of the legislation sent to his desk in the truncated session impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats hold a majority in both the House and Senate, but do not have enough members for the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. Consequently, there is only a very slim chance any of the vetoed bills will become law Wednesday.

Red Flag

The bill would have established extreme protective orders intended to reduce suicides and mass killings, by establishing a civil procedure to remove firearms and ammunition from someone who is at risk of harming him or herself or others.

The legislation is similar to laws in 19 states and the District of Columbia, but opponents and Sununu in his veto message said the bill would trample on the constitutional rights of individuals on hearsay evidence, without due process, particularly gun rights.

Which, of course, it would.

See, there are a lot of problems with red flag laws, but perhaps the one that makes such an effort ridiculous is that if these individuals are so dangerous that they can’t be trusted with firearms, why are we letting them continue to run around? Use a state’s version of the Baker Act to step in and confine these people temporarily for evaluation to determine if they’re really a threat to themselves or others. At least then they won’t be able to use other methods to hurt someone else.

There are problems with Baker Acts as well, mind you, so I’m not saying they’re prefect, but at least those make more sense than simply taking someone’s guns away when they can kill themselves with a myriad of other options or take the lives of others will still more methods. The whole idea of a red flag law is ridiculous.

The veto was the right move by the governor. Knowing it’s unlikely to be overridden is very good news for New Hampshire.

Of course, expect the legislature to crank out another bill next year.