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New Hampshire’s Preemption Bill Makes Continued Progress

By: José Niño

Of the states in the New England region, New Hampshire stands out as the most pro-freedom. Most notably, on the right to bear arms.

New Hampshire passed Constitutional Carry in 2017, which gave it a major boost in terms of its appeal as a pro-Second Amendment state.

Now, lawmakers in the New Hampshire General Court want to move legislation that would prohibit towns and cities from implementing firearms regulations on municipal-owned property and would give residents the power to sue the town to compel officials to take down the regulations.

Individuals who pursue legal action could receive $10,000 in court settlements. Furthermore, town officials who lose the lawsuit could be removed by the governor.

The bill in question, House Bill 307, advocates for “uniform firearms laws in the state” by mandating towns immediately rescind any local ordinances or regulations on firearms.

According to a report by Ethan DeWitt at The Concord Monitor, HB 307 allows a person who believes a town has passed a firearm regulation in violation of state law to write a letter to the town citing its illegal action. Upon receiving the letter, the town would have 90 days to take down the regulation using its local legislative procedures.

If the town did not remove the regulation after 90 days, the person is then able to take the issue to the New Hampshire Superior Court. The bill effectively grants the person automatic standing.

The court could then issue a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000 to the town caught violating state law. The level of fine depends on whether the town’s violation was “inadvertent” or was enacted “purposefully,” “knowingly,” “recklessly,” or “as the result of gross negligence.”

If the person pursuing legal action against the town is a resident, the court will then reward him or her $10,000 in liquidated damages, on top of their legal fees.

If a court finds that a local official broke the new law, its ruling could let the governor forcibly remove the official from office, under this legislation.

The bill was recently passed in the House by a vote of 191-162 and received a 3-2 vote, on partisan lines, to pass in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s now on its way for a full vote on the Senate floor.

The anti-Second Amendment Left is relentless when it comes to pushing its legislative edicts. Even when they’re shut out of power at the state level, gun control activists will labor assiduously to carve out a patchwork of gun-free zones at the local level.

New Hampshire is one of America’s leading pro-gun states. According to Guns & Ammo magazine, it’s ranked in 17th place for best states for gun owners.

In strengthening its pre-emption laws, New Hampshire will only improve its Second Amendment image. This recent legislative episode shows why it’s crucial to deny the Left any opportunity to gain ground at the local level. At one point, gun owners will have to start playing offense, because playing defense can only get a movement so far.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Contact him via Facebook,Twitter, or email him at joseninopolitics@gmail.com. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.

 
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