I explained that we would ask the the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which is chaired by Senator Kevin Avard, to adopt the amendment offered by Rep. Proulx which would have changed HB 84 back to it’s original intent.
NHFC Corporate Secretary, Rep. JR Hoell attended that hearing and Senator Avard assured him that our concerns were heard and that Rep. Proulx’s amendment would be adopted.
Yesterday, I learned that not only were our concerns ignored, but HB 84 was placed on the consent calendar. This means that the Senate can vote on it without any debate or amendments unless a Senator moves to remove the bill from consent. As soon as I learned this, I contacted Senator Avard and he told me that he takes full responsibility for not counting the votes…. he said, the votes were just not there to adopt this important amendment which would have made it clear that it is not a crime to merely possess a loaded rifle or shotgun in a motor vehicle.
Senator Avard committed to me that he will remove HB 84 from the consent calendar and offer Rep. Proulx’s amendment on the floor of the Senate.
Why do we need to repeal this gun ban? Consider that you are out on your own land target shooting and you wish to use the bed of your pickup truck as a stable bench rest; that simple target shooting activity is currently prohibited under the provisions of R.S. A. 207:7 and you could be arrested. We have heard numerous reports from hunters, who, when exiting the woods were approached by a Conservation Officer asking to see their hunting license. In their haste to comply, and needing to free their hands to present the license to the CO, they placed their loaded rifle in or on their vehicle and then received a ticket for a violation of R.S.A. 207:7.
Remember, the mere possession of a loaded long gun in a car or 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.
Anti-gun activist, Col. Kevin Jordan of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said having loaded rifles or shotguns in vehicles is unsafe. We ask, then, how come it is allowed for police and Conservation Officers? We have heard the term “fair chase” and that “it prevents road hunting”. Road hunting, or poaching, will remain unlawful even if we decriminalize possession of loaded rifles and shotguns in motor vehicles. Poachers are criminals who break the law and will likely continue to do so.
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.
I need you to do a few things to help us to end this outrageous gun ban:
1) Please contact your State Senator and ask that they support Senator Avard’s attempt to introduce Rep. Proulx’s amendment on the Senate floor. Ask your Senators to vote for the amendment that will decriminalize the carrying of loaded rifles and shotguns. Please click here for contact information for all State Senators.
2) Please contact Senate President Chuck Morse and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley ask them to support the Avard Amendment to HB 84. Please thank them for passing SB 12, Constitutional Carry and then explain that it is vitally important that HB 84 be amended so that law abiding persons are not subject to arrest and prosecution for merely possessing a loaded rifle or shotgun. Let Senate President Morse and Majority Leader Bradley know that we must not punish people for merely possessing firearms. Tell them that HB 84 is just as important as SB 12 was.
Senator Chuck Morse (603)271-8472 or email: email@example.com
Senator Jeb Bradley (603)271-2609 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your support!
Vice President & Training Director – NHFC