JR Hoell, at the Concord City Council meeting on August 14, 2013. One of the issues the City Council was taking up at this meeting was whether or not to accept a federal grant to purchase a BearCat armored vehicle. Rep. Hoell is the tall man in a blue blazer, standing against the wall on the far right next to a tripod. He's the state Representative for the towns of Bow and Dunbarton. Concord is not part of his district. At the time I wondered how Rep. Hoell would respond to Concord Representatives coming to tell the Dunbarton selectmen what they ought to be doing.
Hoell's a gun guy. His whole purpose in the legislature seems to be to write gun legislation. Bow's population is about 8,000 and Dunbarton's is around 2500. It just seems unlikely that thousands of constituents call Hoell on a regular basis and beg him to write another gun bill. On average he writes five a year. The gun bills aren't getting that closed bridge in Dunbarton fixed. The gun bills aren't creating jobs in Bow or Dunbarton, or lowering their property taxes. What does he do for his district? Nothing really, unless you think MOAR GUNZ are the answer to everything. To be fair, he's also opposed to state revenue, education, and women having bodily autonomy. His agenda appeals to a small cadre of like minded thinkers in the two towns. The rest of his constituents don't know what he's up to, because the media doesn't report on it. When Hoell threatened armed insurrection recently, it went unreported by most of the NH media. Only Tuck at Miscellany Blue and Tony Schinella of the Concord Patch covered the story.
After his time in the spotlight around the BearCat issue, Hoell decided that he could ride that pony a little further, and wrote a bill to make sure that NO town or city in the state should be able to purchase armored vehicles - or weaponry that isn't available on the open market. His co-sponsor for HB 1307 is Rep. Timothy O'Flaherty, a Free Stater from Manchester.
The Concord Monitor published a story about this piece of legislation. This is telling:
None of the activists who flooded the Concord City Council’s public hearings on the BearCat last year came to yesterday’s hearing. Only Hoell testified in favor of the bill, while Keene’s police chief and a state Department of Safety official testified against it.
None of Hoell's Free Stater buddies came to testify in favor of his bill. None of his libertea colleagues came to testify. Even his co-sponsor didn't testify in favor of the bill. Ouch.
Specifically, Hoell’s bill would prohibit state agencies and municipalities from acquiring, purchasing or accepting any military-style equipment, including vehicles and weapons, that aren’t available on an open national commercial market. The National Guard would be exempt from this.
Several members of the House Executive Departments and Administration committee said the bill appeared to take away local control. Rep. Mary Nelson, a Nashua Democrat, asked Hoell what he sees as the appropriate role of the Legislature in telling communities how to spend their money.
“The role of the state, in this case, is to make sure the citizens have the best law enforcement and not one that’s overly militarized,” said Hoell, who added that he is in favor of local control.
Hmm. This bill says otherwise.