NH Considers Pro-Gun Constitutional Amendment

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

New Hampshire’s state motto is “Live free or die.” They’ve long put it on their license plates as a mark of defiance. They historically love their freedom up that way, though a huge influx of people from Massachusetts have brought their progressive politics with them, making that state more of a fight than it used to be.

However, a lot of lawmakers still believe in freedom, apparently, and they’re talking about taking a big step to make sure it stays.

The New Hampshire House is considering recommending a constitutional amendment that would prevent future state laws from restricting firearm ownership, one of a series of gun rights bills proposed this year.

The proposal, officially called Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution 8 would prevent the Legislature from passing any law “restricting the right to own, carry, or use firearms or firearm accessories.”

But some gun rights groups say that the amendment needs to be workshopped, and could have unintended consequences for firearms use in the state.

New Hampshire’s constitution already contains a version of the Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, which states: “All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the State.”

This legislation would add two following sentences. “The Legislature shall enact no law that limits the right of a person to own, carry, or use firearms or firearm accessories in any manner that would create a greater burden than that in federal law,” the amendment states. “Any federal law that infringes upon rights guaranteed in this New Hampshire Constitution shall be unenforceable by New Hampshire law enforcement.”

Honestly, I love the idea.

In one fell swoop, it stops any future gun control laws and turns the state into a sanctuary state. It’s kind of hard not to like it, really.

However, it does appear there are a couple of issues.

J.R. Hoell and Dan Itse, two former state representatives involved in firearm rights advocacy, pointed to two pieces of the proposed amendment they say are contradictory.

In the first sentence, the amendment prevents the Legislature from enacting laws “that would create a greater burden than that in federal law,” the representatives noted – which made the federal law the standard. Yet in the second sentence, the amendment would make those federal laws “unenforceable by New Hampshire law enforcement.”

Itse and Hoell said they were working on a rewrite to the amendment that could address those concerns while still making the Granite State a Second Amendment sanctuary state.

OK, that’s fair. Clarification is a good thing so long as the spirit of the thing remains untouched.

Recently, my wife and I have been talking about where else we’d like to live. While New Hampshire winters don’t look attractive to this Georgia boy, born and bred, I do have to say this passing might make me willing to brave snow and cold for a few months per year knowing good and well that the state values my gun rights to such a degree.

The big question is, will it pass? On that, I don’t know, but it should be worth watching.

Mar 03, 2021 10:30 AM ET