Thursday, January 11, 2018

Local Control Under Attack

Our far right legislators love to talk about how much they hate big government. Big government imposes its will on the people, Big Government takes away the voice of towns, cities, and states… yesiree Bob, they hate Big Gummint…until they love it.

By the time you read this, there will have been a hearing on HB 1749, a bill that would remove the right of NH cities or towns to establish their own gun ordinances. Your town doesn’t want target shooting on town land? Your city doesn’t want guns on town property? Tough luck. The libertea gundamentalists are going to eliminate local control, and give that control to the state. That’s right - the same state they complain about all the time.

According to this bill, “the general court will have exclusive authority and jurisdiction by statute over the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matters pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, firearms supplies, and knives in this state.”

Take that, taxpayers of Anytown, NH. Your town doesn’t get to make decisions about guns, ammo, or knives, because the legislature controls your town’s decisions. You still get to pay taxes, but if you don’t want Bubba and his drunken cousin shooting targets in the park, that’s tough luck.  In fact, they’ll probably be able to shoot at the school playground too, because the bill opposes banning guns at schools, and schools are public property. Nothing goes together like small children and firearms.

It’s a bold power grab. Lead sponsor JR Hoell has never respected local control, and the bill reflects his disdain. Line I makes a point of saying that NH is not a home rule state. That NH has a long-standing (nigh on to sacred) tradition of local control is of no interest to the parade of far right activists that have signed on to this. Free State Project mover Ed Comeau of Brookfield is the only sponsor from the top half of the state, an area where folks are pretty serious about local control. There are no sponsors from Grafton or Coos County. There’s a hearing on Wednesday, and the executive session will follow the hearing. The vote will probably be scheduled for the following week. They don’t want voters to know about this until it’s a fait accompli. 

The other sponsors (from the bottom half of the state) include Representatives Al Baldasaro, John Burt, self-styled Constitutional expert Dan Itse, and James Spillane. Representative Michael Sylvia of Belmont is the other Free Stater sponsoring the bill. The founding document of the Free State Project calls for people to move to NH, take over and dismantle the state government, and then threaten secession. I trust I’m not the only one to see the humor in the would-be dismantlers of the state government, attempting to take local power away from municipalities and hand it to the state government.

They’re counting on the fact that voters aren’t paying attention, and if they hear about it at all, will interpret it as “nobody gonna tell me what I can do with my gun” and leave it at that.

The silence around this bill should concern all of us. There was endless publicity about “Constitutional Carry,” the name the out-of-state special interests came up with for eliminating the permitting process for concealed carry firearms. All the gun groups churned out continuous propaganda emails. The governor made it his very first legislative priority. To get a concealed carry license, a gun owner had to apply to the police chief in his/her town. The “Constitutional Carry” bill eliminated that step. It was the first step in eliminating local control. This latest move to disempower municipalities should come as no surprise.

It should come with rejection. This is the second attack on local control. If these radicals succeed, they’ll be further emboldened. What will be next? What will be the next erosion of local control engineered by the radical ideologues of today’s GOP? What do towns control that these folks hate? Hint: schools. I predict that will be next on their agenda.

There have been amendments proposed to the NH Constitution at different times to make NH a “home rule” state. Every time, the most vehement opposition comes from the liberty crowd. They hate big gummint, until they become the big government - and then they’ll do anything to protect and expand their power.  

For years we’ve heard that it’s the evil liberals who want big government to control every aspect of our lives. It turns out that it’s the NHGOP that wants their idea of big government to run our towns from Concord. It’s a brilliant strategy. The average Republican voter would expect this from liberals, but never from his own party.

Dear Republicans: your demise is being engineered from within. 

This was published as an op-ed in the January 12, 2018 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper 

1 comment:

Dick Tilton said...

Tragically, it's axiomatic that many everyday folks who are Republican are frequently supportive of policies that harm them.