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.