Friday, February 22, 2013


After I left the medical marijuana hearing yesterday, I headed across the street to the NH State House, where 4 gun bills were being heard in the House Chamber, by the House Criminal Justice and Safety Committee.  The last round of gun hearings taught them that regular committee rooms at the Legislative Office Building weren't going to be large enough to hold all of the gun nuts likely to turn out, hence the  hearings were held in Rep's Hall. Some of the highlights:

HB 609: relative to possession of a firearm on school property, had just been introduced when I came in. The bill title isn't quite representative of the bill's text
This bill provides that a school district shall vote to require the school board to establish policies and procedures relative to licensed school employees carrying a firearm while on school property.
The intent is to allow school districts to vote on whether or not to allow school employees (teachers, administrators, janitors, lunch ladies) to carry concealed weapons on school property. 

The bill's lead sponsor is Noted Constitutional Scholar Rep. Dan Itse, and Rep. Timothy Comerford. Rep. Itse testified of the need for this bill. He also pointed out that because each school district would decide for themselves, this provides LOCAL CONTROL. They could do it if they wanted, or not. 

The committee chose not to ask him any questions, which is rare, in the case of introductory testimony from a lead sponsor of any bill. 

A representative of the NH School Board Association (I missed his name) testified that arming people on our school property is an alarming proposition, and one that would expose schools and towns to serious liability issues. He also pointed out that engaging in a gunfight without shooting innocent people requires a great deal of training. Free Stater Rep. Mark Warden asked him if it was true that some schools in NH that currently allow guns on site. The SBA guy didn't know of any. 

Rep. Hoell gave an impassioned speech about fire  sprinklers in school buildings. They save lives! Guns will, too! 

Former State Rep. Spec Bowers testified that this bill is the epitome of local control, since all school districts will make their own decisions. "If you're a teacher and a bad guy is there with a gun, would you rather throw a book at him, or shoot  him before he kills more people? If the bad guy knows that some people at the school may be armed, he's going to go to another school that doesn't allow guns." 

[Note: That is not borne out by any school massacre, ever. None of them were random.]

Mary Bonser of Nottingham  read a letter written by a guy who was a student at Columbine when the shooting occurred. He wrote a long, nasty letter to President Obama (one that was seasoned with a dash of racism) that the committee Chair chose to allow Ms. Bonser to read in it's entirety, despite the fact that it had nothing to do with NH or the bill at hand.

While that was going on, a lobbyist from the NH Liberty Alliance came through with a group of people  from out of state, on a tour. It looked as if some (if not all) of them signed in on the bill. They were taken out to the anteroom and given a speech about how the Liberty Alliance hoped they would decide to move to NH.

Scott McGilvray of the NH NEA testified that his members (16,000) do not want to arm themselves, that guns have no place in our schools.

Angel Joy, a mother of 2,  said that decisions about children's safety should be left in the hands of parents. She wants her ex to be able to go into the kid's school with his gun. She considers herself a trained professional with a gun, since she had 13 weeks of training last year with an assault rifle. She supports the bill. Parents should decide. No word on how it would work if parents in a community disagreed.

Stephen Stepanek is a former educator who lives in Manchester. He was the subject of an assassination plot that was discovered by other students, who went to the authorities, who then called the police.  He says that gun free zones are the problem. If teachers and janitors were armed, the students would think twice.

Hal Jones, a fish and game guy and firearms instructor said, "As someone who has spent my life teaching firearms, the last thing we have to worry about is guns around kids."

Next up was HB 451AN ACT repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.

The sponsors of the bill are Rep. JR Hoell, and Noted Constitutional Scholar Rep. Dan Itse. Neither were there to introduce the bill. Rep. John Burt from Goffstown filled in for them, and announced that he supported the bill (which he rather obviously read for the first time right there) because he's from OLD Vermont - not Vermont the way it is today. He was brought up with guns, that's just the way it was in Old Vermont, where there are no concealed carry permits. (In spite of the latte drinking, Birkenstock wearing, Volvo driving pinkos who live in NEW Vermont.)

Wayne Small from Bradford supports the bill. If you can legally own a firearm you do not need a permit. 

Rep. Hoell gave a dissertation on the Constitution. He also wants to reduce the permit fee for out of state residents. Massachusetts residents are upset about the fee. It's nice that Hoell cares about those socialists from Taxachusetts. I hope his Free State buddies won't make fun of him for that. 

David Wheeler rose in support of the bill (he said so). Constitutional Carry! Residents of the Live Free Or Die State! The out of state fee is a TAX AND IT IS WRONG! 

Rep. Vallaincourt from the committee asked Mr. Wheeler if he was aware that there had been a hearing a couple of weeks before on a bill to lower that fee? Mr. Wheeler sputtered that he was not. 

Jon Bresler commented that "Hoell is a representative who has no lack of ink in his pen for filing gun bills in a state that is one of the safest in the union." 

Former Republican Party Chair, Tea Merchant Jack Kimball spoke in support of the bill. He believes in Constitutional parity, and this bill returns us to Constitutional parity. You should only go through a background check once. Also, he's miffed that when he drives through Massachusetts, he's a criminal, because he can't legally have his gun there. 

Noted Constitutional Scholar Rep. Dan Itse supports Constitutional Carry. His right to carry a concealed weapon is enshrined in the Constitution, and the concealed permit is a violation of his Constitutional rights.  He believes that the requirement for a concealed carry permit is a mistaken sense of safety. The person you would grant a license to is the person you would never have to fear. 

Rep. Vallaincourt asked Itse if anyone has ever attempted to strike down the NH law, seeing as how it's been in effect for years. Itse said no. 

Spec Bowers tells us that we don't have to worry about the people who get permits, they're the good guys. The bad guys don't get permits. The permit puts a barrier in the way of the good guys. Honest people carrying a weapon are no danger to anyone other than bad guys. Also, to defend, it's not even necessary to fire = the honest citizen deters crime by letting the bad guy know the weapon is there.

Rep. Al Baldasaro says that a veteran should not have to ask the chief of police for permission to carry a weapon.

Stephen Stepanek: It is not a permit it is a license. You cannot refuse me. I should not have to pay a fee, its a TAX.

Keith Mistaretto of Durham: "I have rights! Guaranteed to me by the NH Constitution!"

Sgt. Jason Austin: "I have sworn to DEFEND the Constitution!"

And so on. I did learn some things at this hearing. The new Free Stater style branding for "concealed carry" is CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY. I learned that every NH gun owner is a Constitutional scholar.
I  also learned that some gun nuts  Constitutional scholars think that speaking rudely to the committee  will work in their favor, and that we shouldn't need permission to carry guns.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It appears that guns are indeed the problem in more ways than one. The ineloquent and ignorant dialogue expressed by pro-gunners speaks to their lack of interests that perhaps would be better sought between the pages of good educational books rather than on gun ranges. Just this week we saw more horrific gun violence in many states, Las Vegas being in the forefront. Like many, I've lived through all these "gun battles" between the dark "pro forces" and the kinder gentler voices of reason. Since Reagan got shot there was a lot of hooha but nothing has changed and I predict nothing will. As a child I was appalled at how stupid adults were. As an adult I continue this belief. We can blame the mother of this last shooter in CT who demonstrated complete idiocy, lack of responsibilty and was wholly negligent. Nothing will change because pro-gunners don't want anything to change. They like their delusional little world and hate everyone else. That's the sad truth.