NH Senate Republicans Defeat Background Check Measure

AP Photo/Haven Daley

My wife once asked me if there was anywhere in New England I'd consider living. It was one of those "Would you still love me if I were a worm?" questions in many ways; not a serious query but just a way to make conversation or spark discussion, though far more of a realistic scenario.


My answer was sure. I'd consider New Hampshire.

There's something to love about a state with "Live Free or Die" on its license plates that also seems to try to live up to that motto.

Yet there are forces at work in the Granite State that work against that. They like restrictions.

Those forces are disappointed today after the state Senate defeated their latest effort.

New Hampshire will not join the 47 other states that provide records of psychiatric hospitalization commitments for gun background checks – at least for now. 

Thursday, Senate Republicans defeated a final attempt to submit that information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, saying the bill was flawed and would have violated the constitutional right to have firearms. Sen. Daniel Innis, a Bradford Republican, said the bill could have allowed the state to confiscate not only the guns owned by the hospitalized person but also guns owned by other people living in the house. 

Sen. Sharon Carson, a Londonderry Republican, also criticized the bill’s sponsors for not collaborating with gun rights groups in drafting the bill. 

“It’s important that their voices are heard, but they’re never included in this process,” she said. “So please, if you’re going to bring things forward, include people who actually own guns and get their opinion.”

The bill's sponsor is a gun owner who has a pretty decent track record on the Second Amendment, but he still pushed this bill, arguing that it was "limited" and important for saving lives.

Yet opponents of the bill don't seem to agree, arguing that it could result in guns being confiscated from people without due process, and I happen to agree.


See, mental health records are all fine and well, but some people are admitted against their will out of an abundance of caution. Mental health providers think the risk is too great to release someone, only for there to not be a threat at all.

At least in the courts, there's due process. There are procedures meant to keep that sort of thing from happening.

When the courts reach a decision, then sure, submit it to NICS. But when an individual doctor does, that's going too far.

And yes, the idea that I shouldn't have guns because someone in my home was involuntarily committed by a doctor who was overly concerned about things is a huge issue for me.

Additionally, Sen. Carson is right. Gun owners have a stake in this. Why not talk to them about their concerns, address them in whatever measure you propose, and then debate them from there? If you're wanting some kind of compromise, you're not going to get it by dictating to the other side what is going to happen. That's not how it works.

No one wants the insane walking around with guns, but no one should be fine with rights being stripped from people so easily, either.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member