A huge pillar of my campaign was to fight back against lockdowns and mandates. The amazing 2021 House session tackled a lot of health freedom and civil liberty preservations, but one of the key restraints required to protect our liberties would be state of emergency reform. This would restrict the governor’s ability to indefinitely extend states of emergency, which grants his office the powers that many governors across this country used to implement lockdown measures that eviscerated businesses and ruined lives. Here is the video of my testimony in support of HB127, I am a cosponsor on this legislation. Rewind to see the great testimony from the bill’s prime sponsor, and NHLA’s Legislator of the year 2022: Tony Lekas of Hudson.
Thank you Madam Chair, members of the committee. My name is Tom Mannion, I represent Hillsborough 1 – Pelham. I’m here to speak in support of HB127.
Despite a predecessor bill being vetoed last term, the Governor, in his 2023 inauguration speech, had this to say:
“In New Hampshire, we distill decision-making down to the lowest possible levels of power, empowering individuals to make their voices heard at the local level, where their voice is the greatest”
Sounds clear-cut, that decision making should be in the hands of the people. As one of the largest representative bodies in the world, the voices from the local level are amplified through their representation better here than any other state. If our districts require that a state of emergency continue, then this body would be the most knowledgeable about the individual circumstances and can vote accordingly to extend it.
At the Federal level, since the passing of the National Emergencies Act in 1976, the office of the President has declared 79 national emergencies, and 42 are still in effect to this day. The structure for ending these states of emergency is the same as New Hampshire, requiring the legislative branch to vote to end them. And since gridlock is not uncommon at any level of the government, they persist. It’s troubling to think a governor that may run for President is comfortable with retaining such power in his current position, and what that could mean for the country should they win a Presidential run.
The default state for any citizen should always be freedom from government interference in their lives, emergency or otherwise, and this body should have to convene and act, on behalf of the desires of our constituents, to disrupt that freedom only if absolutely necessary. It should not be a battle to return liberty to Granite Staters, and this bill corrects that.
I ask the committee to OTP HB127, and I’m willing to take any questions.
February 8th was a long, packed day of gun bills. I testified or registered my opposition against all the bills that would infringe on our natural right to keep and bear arms, and spoke in support of the two (including my own bill) that would further protect your rights in the afternoon.
A Twitter meme was created highlighting a part of my testimony against HB78, that went viral in the liberty community. Thank you to LPNH!
HB 32 – Gun-Free School Zones (Opposed)
There’s a common expression I use frequently when discussing why I carry: When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. This bill prohibits this type of personal rapid response in a crisis situation anywhere near a school. It creates a publicly-advertised soft target. In other states with similar provisions, this is the exact type of area where mass shooting events occur – places where there will be the least amount of resistance from law-abiding citizens that obey these ordinances.
The bill shifts the responsibility of defense of life entirely onto law enforcement. And while it’s more comfortable to think Uvalde police department is the only department that would wait outside the school for hours, and tase you if you try to enter to do their job for them, I’m not confident that would be the case. You see, courts at all levels have repeatedly affirmed that law enforcement are under no obligation to risk their lives to save yours or the lives of your loved ones.
I know the reaction to mass shooting events is to do SOMETHING. And I agree, but this is NOT the right “something” to do. The solution to this problem is not to prevent teachers, janitors, counselors, or parents on site from being first to respond to a crisis situation. Frankly, I’m of the opinion that more teachers should take firearm training and carry. To me, it is akin to any other emergency situation – learning the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, automatic defibrillator usage, what to do in case of fire, etc. I don’t believe in mandating carry, but administrations being more encouraging for it, and including training courses for those that are interested would be nothing but beneficial.
HB 59 – Expanded Background Checks (Opposed)
To start, this bill opens with the definition of “Commercial sale” as including gifts. So, let me run a hypothetical. A father is raising his son up way up in Coos county, they go hunting and target shooting on weekends. The son is raised in a gun-friendly environment, is very well trained and capable thanks to the great mentorship of his father. When the father deems his son to be mature enough, the father gifts his son the rifle they’ve been using for years as a birthday gift, same as his father did before him. It is now the son’s to own. His eyes light up with wonder, a smile spreads across his face, and Dad is now guilty of a class B misdemeanor thanks to HB59. Tough break, pops.
Since FFL firearm purchases are already subject to background checks, I want to highlight what I believe is unconstitutional in the ATF Form 4473. If we are going to be lapdogs to arbitrary federal rules, I think I should elaborate exactly what that entails and how it is a violation of granite staters’ rights.
I want to credit LibertyBloc for bringing this to my attention. In all the times I completed this form, the specific legal language the ATF uses never popped out at me.
Question 11b states: “Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime which a judge could imprison you for more than one year?”
“Indictment.” Not guilty of. So no trial, no jury, no conviction, no sentence, yet answering “yes” would prohibit purchase of a firearm. So you are being denied liberty without due process of law, and being forced to bear witness against yourself. This violates the Fifth Amendment.
Question 11c covers conviction, so 11b sticks out as unnecessary and unconstitutional. And the subject of felony conviction and firearm ownership is another bill this committee has heard and I submitted testimony for.
Question 11e states:
“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? (in bold) WARNING: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
This question is dubiously worded – as it says “unlawful user,” and immediately reminds you that any use of marijuana is unlawful. This question, as with all of these, violates the fifth amendment protection against bearing witness against oneself, as well as the 10th Amendment, which gives all authority not explicitly outlined in the US Constitution to the states, which includes drugs.
This goes on, and I would argue that we shouldn’t be completing these forms in the first place, let alone making a dad run one for gifting his son a rifle. Criminals do not acquire firearms through these means, they steal them, or the federal agencies (like during the Obama administration) ferry them to Mexico and they come back into circulation that way. It also won’t be too long before all the newly-Taliban-owned arms make their way around the planet. I’m certain the DoD didn’t run a background check on those guys before leaving them guns.
HB 76 – Mandatory Firearm Purchase Waiting Period (Opposed)
During the summer of 2020, I watched live streams of fiery, but mostly peaceful protests across the country. The citizens were angry, and I agreed with their anger, but not the methodology. Private businesses, even those with black owners, were torched. In some of the larger cities with more violent protests, terrified business owners were told by 911 dispatchers – the police were unavailable to help and that they were on their own.
Hearing this, I was thankful we live in a country where we can arm ourselves against such violence. But in states with firearm waiting periods like California, you cannot just go get a firearm to protect your business, your family, your property. These people learned the hard way, that their feel-good “sensible gun control” measures would have costly consequences. A cop acting criminally half a country away would result in near-overnight reaction from an rightfully angry community, but would end up destroying the livelihood or homes of people wholly uninvolved. And they were told by both the police and gun store owners: you’re going to have to wait.
It’s easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback, and say they should’ve already had the gun, but the same people pushing for waiting periods don’t actually believe this, either. They’d rather you be disarmed and hope the waiting period is enough of a deterrent to keep you from bothering at all. They believe a waiting period would stop some heat-of-the-moment gun purchase for a vigilante looking for vengeance, or whatever thriller movie scenario they have cooked up. That same person will just get it illegally should a waiting period be introduced. The only people being affected by this are those that wish to remain within the law, and will ultimately be harmed by it.
If another country-wide protest is on the horizon, and your state has a mandatory waiting period, you may as well pack your things and leave town. Just don’t expect your home to be there when you get back.
HB 78 – Repeal Gun Sanctuary Law (Opposed)
The federal government creates so many rules and laws that even their bloated agencies are incapable of enforcing them all. As such, they rely on our law enforcement to waste time and resources aiding in any number of potentially unconstitutional acts. They reward such obedience with things like bearcats, that those police and then use to smash in the front of a private residence just because they can.
Our law enforcement should be focused on the laws of New Hampshire. We are not obligated to assist the feds with whatever new rules they create, especially as it pertains to firearms. The ATF’s own rules are extremely fluid in nature as they don’t wait for a law to come from Congress to just decide to ban new things. The latest are pistol braces, but before that, an Executive Order from President Trump banned bump stocks, only to be overturned by the courts. So, in the interim, while these unconstitutional rules and EOs come into existence with no oversight, any one of us could become a felon in our sleep.
Last year’s House Bill 1178 put an end to wasting our law enforcement’s time with these wild swings in policy from DC. If the feds want to enforce these laws, there’s sadly not much we can do (yet?), but they are going to have a much harder time going it alone. Despite what the ATF and others believe, we have a natural right to self defense, and we respect that in New Hampshire. I personally believe the ATF is an illegal organization, responsible for many deaths caused by their actions over the decades. I do not want our state law enforcement agencies cooperating with them, and ideally we’ll create an alert system, warning communities they are in danger whenever they are on the move, akin to midwestern tornado sirens.
HB 106 – Red Flag Laws (Opposed)
This bill creates what is commonly referred to as a “Red Flag Law,” or as I refer to it – second and fifth amendment violations. Without a conviction, without a jury trial, a jilted ex can have your firearms seized by the state, for up to a year, after which time you have to plead with the court, on your own dime, to have your property returned to you. And if that angry ex continues to “fear for their life,” you’re never getting them back. If, by some miracle, they move on and forget to continuously file, you can then, again, on your own dime, plead to the courts to have your property returned to you. Oh, after paying their storage fees. This type of system reminds me a lot of crooked tow company rackets.
Now, for something darker. As an Iraq war veteran, I fortunately emerged mentally sound from my time over there. Not all of us did. While the VA offers free mental health care, there is a fear amongst Veterans that if they seek help, their guns will be taken away. And, while largely unfounded, the mere existence of Red Flag Laws, with language about “potential harm to themselves”, it’s understandable why the vets feel the way they do. So, instead of getting the help many of them need, they’d rather tough it out. They’d rather grapple with their demons alone than have their firearms confiscated, and I completely understand. However, the deadly scenario the Red Flag Law is attempting to prevent, can become the reality instead.
HB 351 – Mandatory Locking Mechanisms (Opposed)
I was not able to testify against this, but registered my opposition with the committee.
HB 444 – Firearms Prohibited at Polling Places (Opposed)
I was not able to testify against this, but registered my opposition with the committee.
HB 474 – Establishing Penalties for Violation of Right to Keep and Bear Arms (Supported – Prime Sponsor)
Last year we had a fantastic bill, HB1178 come through this committee and ultimately be signed into law. It is commonly referred to as the gun sanctuary bill, as its language is modeled after immigration sanctuary provisions in various states and cities across the US. The difference being, this one solidified New Hampshire’s dedication to protect its citizens rights against federal overreach. This law was already covered in the hearing of HB78, so I’ll focus on HB474.
During the testimony for our sanctuary bill, one of the chief complaints from our citizens about it was the lack of penalties or “teeth” to any law enforcement that decided to ignore NH law, and aid the feds in trampling our natural right to keep and bear arms. This bill corrects for that. I consider it a government accountability bill. It waives Qualified Immunity, and permits a wronged individual to have their day in court.
Furthermore, I do not believe our state could benefit from employing federal agents that have disregarded our natural rights, and bars them from employment if they have a history of doing so. This type of insidious perversion-from-within would ultimately diminish the quality of law enforcement in the state, dragging them down to the levels of rights-trampling federal agents. We should be ostracizing individuals with this mindset, not allowing them to train alongside or manage police departments with granite staters that respect the rights of our citizens.
The militarization of police, which is causing disharmony and strife in our communities traces back to federal programs, doctrines, and enforcement of their laws. If we hope to mend the distrust of law enforcement, bills like HB474 are a path towards it. We should not be employing individuals that consider our rights an obstacle for them to overcome, and create arbitrary rules on the fly with no Congressional feedback, only to be eventually struck down by the courts after the harm has already been done.
HB512 – Exempting Firearms and Accessories Manufactured in New Hampshire from Federal Regulation (Supported)
For too long we’ve accepted that if a product is manufactured inside of the US, regardless of whether it left the state it was made in, that the Federal Government must have a say in the process. In 1942, Wickard v. Filburn was the case that is the justification for the explosive, monstrous growth we’ve seen in the federal government. In this case, Filburn grew wheat to feed his livestock, but the US had imposed limitations on what farmers could produce. Since he could have maybe sold his wheat across state lines, the federal government used that as justification to impose regulations. And the Supreme Court, being very open to expanding federal power and with extremely loose interpretation of the Constitution, sided with the feds.
Fast-forward to 2023, I legally cannot manufacture a suppressor, or buy one from a New Hampshire manufacturer without ATF permission, just to protect my hearing, as a consequence of that interpretation. The ATF is more than happy to use the Wickard v. Filburn decision, since anything I make for myself, could potentially have been sold across state lines, and that then gives them jurisdiction over it. I believe now is the time to push back against the federal overreach we’ve grown too accustomed to. The founders would be sick to see how the states have bowed down to consolidated power in DC. The current SCOTUS makeup appears amenable to correcting past mistakes, and we should join Texas and many other states that are challenging commerce clause interpretations, especially as pertains to firearm manufacturing.
Thank you chair and members of the committee. My name is Tom Mannion, I represent Hillsborough District 1 – Pelham. I’m here to introduce House Bill 646 – eliminating the vehicle inspection mandate for non-commercial vehicles.
I’ll start with a small story: a few years back I was driving up 495 and my alternator gave out. I coasted across a couple lanes of traffic and managed to pull over safely. As I awaited AAA, I looked over at my car inspection sticker – not even a month old.
These stickers do not give a force field of safety, they do not guarantee a car will make it a year without problems. What they do, however, is create headaches for the rest of us, and burden low-income families disproportionately. These families stretch car lifetimes, because they have to. When presented with a list of nitpicky problems that must be addressed to get the state-sponsored gold star, they’ll just continue to operate with a rejection sticker and eat whatever potential fines, because it’s cheaper than repairs or buying a new vehicle.
Only 14 states require annual safety inspections. 14! “Safety inspections” is also a misnomer. The Government Accountability Office published a study that showed NO correlation between vehicle crashes and inspection mandates. In fact, 94% of vehicle crashes are caused by driver error, with mechanical failure being 2%. And, like my Dodge Avenger on 495, those failures can still occur WITH an inspection sticker. So we’re inducing a burden onto drivers for no provable benefit.
Direct dollar cost components aside, there’s a time-cost as well. The stations are open during average work hours, requiring taking time off to get our permission slips. So hourly workers are not only paying the cost of the inspection, but losing out on wages for the time required to get it done.
The other arguments against inspections are from an emissions standpoint. Nature.com released a study outlining that in 2020, when most of the industrialized countries locked down production, and vast quantities of individuals were no longer commuting, the global CO2 emission levels were only slowed by, at most 7.5%. Think about how we’re still reeling from supply chain shortages, the evisceration of small businesses, rampant inflation and teasing of a global recession, and we barely moved the needle for CO2. And the EPA thinks emissions testing granite stater’s sedans is justified. They have their scary extortion threats that they’ll just keep our tax money and not pay for their highways. So we’re operating a program out of fear of Federal retribution, costing granite staters money to comply with yet another overreaching mandate from DC, and there’s enough evidence from 2020 to conclude that it doesn’t even serve the intended purpose. Over half the states don’t require emissions testing. I guess Florida doesn’t have highways or dense urban areas that the EPA claims requires annual testing.
Back to the supply chain shortages, for a moment. During the last few years, getting parts required to repair vehicles has experienced waves of difficulty. How are you supposed to bring your vehicle up to compliance when parts aren’t available? Do the police take this into account, and just look the other way? All the fear mongering about cars exploding into rusty shrapnel (or whatever the argument is) on the highway is on hold? Or are we not supposed to drive to work until the supply chain is corrected? What if I’m part of the supply chain itself and can’t legally drive to supply the parts to fix my car?
I think it’s time to join the 36 other states that do not require annual safety inspections. I urge you to vote OTP on HB646. I’ll take your questions.
One of the points made by opponents of the bill was that inspections would not catch my alternator problem I described in the intro. This is an argument that supports removal of the inspection, contrary to their position. If the inspections intended purpose is to catch vehicle problems that may lead to a crash, they fail in that job.
Thank you mister chair, and members of the committee. My name is Tom Mannion, I’m representing Hillsborough District 1, Pelham. I’m a Marine Corps infantry veteran that enlisted in 2004 to hunt down those responsible for 9/11. However, I didn’t even get the chance to do that. Like all service members, I went where I was told, even though I didn’t completely understand why. You’re going to hear counter arguments today, but take it from an enlisted grunt that has been knocked onto my ass into Iraqi dirt by a VBIED, there’s nothing that can convince me to continue sending our guardsmen into harm’s way without going through the correct process.
My first deployment to Iraq started in August of 2005. One of the guys in my platoon was from New Orleans and learned about Hurricane Katrina over a satellite phone call back home. He was raised by his grandmother, and she was alone during the catastrophe. We gave him our allotted sat phone time to make calls to neighbors and to make sure she got out safely. It wasn’t until years later I found out that the Louisiana National Guard was deployed to Iraq right around the same time we were. The Department of Defense sent active duty Marine Corps infantry battalions to help with Katrina, using warfighters to fulfill the mission objectives of search-and-rescue guardsmen.
The motto of the National Guard is “Always Ready, Always There,” but the operations supporting unconstitutional wars prevents them from fulfilling this. Florida national guardsmen were training Ukrainian soldiers instead of helping with hurricane disaster relief, fires in Oregon were left to spread because their guard was in Afghanistan. Kentucky guardsmen were in Syria, protecting the interests of oil companies instead of aiding their neighbors back home when tornadoes devastated communities.
This committee was briefed by the Adjutant General just last week, where he said over 300 of our New Hampshire Guardsmen were deployed to the middle east right now. Imagine if we got smashed by a Nor’easter and needed those 300 soldiers here to assist our families and neighbors. They would not be there, instead they are off supporting an unconstitutional, undeclared war.
Another terrible consequence of these unending wars is the mental and emotional toll on our servicemembers. Again, as this committee was briefed last week, New Hampshire is one of the states with the highest suicide rate among veterans. This is a serious problem that we, in this legislature, can combat by passing HB229. Force Congress to do their Constitutional duty, to risk the ire of their constituents by voting for these nonsense wars that do nothing to protect us at home, before committing the lives of our guardsmen. These men and women signed up to defend us, the least we can do is vote OTP to show we are defending them.
I’m happy to answer your questions.
Representative Tom Mannion
Hillsborough 1 – Pelham
State Representative – Hillsborough County District 01 (Pelham)