NH Fish & Game thinks mere possession is crime…

by NHFC, Inc. on March 27, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am getting really tired of the anti-gun activists at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. They have a history of opposing good, solid pro-gun reform bills.

On the Departments web page it says: “Guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife, and marine resources.”  Yet members of their staff show up at hearings in other committees opposing important reforms that gun owners need and are asking for.

Furthermore, I just don’t understand how engaging in anti-gun activism helps to “guard the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources”.  In fact, the activities of the Fish and Game Department and the Fish and Game Commission are becoming more and more anti-gun and they have done nothing to address the current laws that potentially set up sportsmen for entrapment.

Here is how the bill (HB84) that they are opposing hurts those who purchase licenses from the department:

A hunter has a home range and uses the tailgate as a rest for sighting in a rifle.  A Fish and Game Conservation Officer who sees the activity and can issue him a ticket for having a “loaded rifle in a vehicle”.

Here is another real world example:

We have received numerous reports of people who were exiting the woods and were approached by a Conservation Officer asking to see a hunting license.  In their haste to comply, our hunters place a rifle or shotgun in the bed of a pickup truck or the trunk of a car without unloading it or removing the magazine.  They did this to free their hands to show the Conservation Officer their hunting license.  Their reward for cooperation:  A ticket for a”loaded rifle in or on a vehicle”.

These horror stories of hunters being entrapped by statutes are the very same statutes that both the Fish and Game Department and Fish and Game Commission work hard to keep on the books.

Here is yet another example: When we were trying to make Constitutional Carry the law in New Hampshire, the anti-gun activists on the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission opposed SB 12.  You can click here to read the meeting minutes.   Please read the January 11, 2017 meeting minutes and you will see that anti-gun Commissioner Walter Morse, (who we are told is involved with the management of Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsborough) made the motion to not only oppose SB 12, but to also oppose HB 84 which would repeal the “possession is a crime” statute.  Remember, the mere possession of a loaded long gun in a truck, or even target shooting from the bed of a truck is breaking the law.  Our current fish and game laws presume you as guilty just for having a firearm with you.  This means the mere possession of a loaded rifle or shotgun is a crime without the owner doing anything else.

HB 84 was amended into a very weak bill that only allows loaded rifles and shotguns in campers under very narrow circumstances.

This week, on Tuesday, March 28, there will be 2 opportunities to fight back against the anti-gun New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.  First, the Senate Energy and Resources Committee will hear HB 84 at 9:15 AM in State House Room 103.  The original, prime sponsor of HB 84, Rep. Mark Proulx, (R-Hillsborough, 44) told me that he will offer an amendment which will change the bill back, to his original intent, which is to allow loaded rifles and shotguns in cars.  Please click here to email the Committee Members  and tell them to support Rep. Proulx’s amendment.

Law abiding people should not face criminal prosecution for merely possessing a loaded rifle or shotgun in a motor vehicle.  In New Hampshire, the police (including Conservation Officers) are required to obtain a search warrant (or consent) to search a car.  Just like a home.  Since the right to privacy exists in a car, just like a home, law abiding people should not be presumed criminals for possessing long arms.

Don’t be fooled by the lies being told by the anti-gun activists at the Fish and Game Department, this is not a hunting issue, this is a pure Second Amendment civil rights issue.

Please click here to email the Committee Members and tell them to support Rep. Proulx’s amendment to reform New Hampshire’s firearms possession laws.

We also have another opportunity to reign in the abusive, heavy handed anti-gun activists at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.  SB 48 has passed the Senate and is being considered by the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee. If enacted into law, SB 48 will establish a commission to study the Fish and Game Department and recommend any needed changes.  This should have been done years ago.  There are clear issues within this department, especially one of bureaucratic bloat that drives up license costs each year.  A full house cleaning of the Fish and Game Department is needed, but the commissioners appointed by anti-gun, former Governor Hassan refuses to clean up the department.

The Fish and Game Commission was intended as a means to protect citizens from overly aggressive Conservation Officers.  The Commission is supposed to be in charge.  However, the sad reality is that the commission has gone absent and failed in its mission and has become a rubber stamp for anti-gun activists within the department.   This needs to be addressed.

SB 48 will provide a mechanism to study the department and recommend any needed changes.

Lastly, revenues from hunting licenses have been declining in recent years.  Instead of looking within, to determine why revenues are declining, the Department simply raised the price of a license.  Only to see further declines in revenues.  A better business model would be to see why their customers are going to neighboring states.  Then, lower the price of a license to increases sales and revenues, just like a sale at a supermarket.  Reduce the price to promote the product being sold.  In this case, hunting and fishing licenses.

For purposes of full disclosure, none of these fees affect me personally because I have held a lifetime combination New Hampshire Hunting and Fishing License since 2001.  However, since the department is so opposed to Second Amendment Civil Rights, I am not disappointed when they stumble.  SB 48 might be just the legislative vehicle to solve these problems.  It is a new way of thinking!

Please click here to email all members of the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee.  Urge them to vote SB 48 “Ought to Pass” when they consider it on March 28.

Alan M. Rice
Vice President & Training Director – NHFC

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