Currently in the state of New Hampshire, state law allows any citizen to legally own and possess a firearm. Individuals of the state can legally carry the firearm openly, be it loaded or unloaded. However, if an individual has a firearm that is concealed, such as in a handbag or covered by a jacket, then the carrier would be required to have a concealed carry handgun license. There is legislation in the state that is currently moving forward that would eliminate the need for such licensing if the weapon is concealed.
Senate Bill 12 is proposed legislation that would extend the permitless open carry laws to permitless concealed carry. This means that individuals who are law-abiding gun owners would have the right to carry openly or with a concealed firearm.
The bill is sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley and recently moved through the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee by a vote of 12 to 8. The bill now moves on to the House floor where it will be considered by the full House. Voters in every state are now being urged to contact state representatives and get them on board to vote in favor of the legislation.
With Senate Bill 12, the licensing requirement to carry a concealed revolver or pistol would be repealed. The law would not apply to those who are prohibited to carry a firearm. Individuals who obtain a license to carry would be allowed to conceal or carry openly as well as see a longer time frame before having to renew licensing. Residents would actually be able to have licensing for a five year time frame instead of the previous four.
Constitutional carry bills do not have a direct effect on gun control of a federal level but widespread passage of such conceal carry laws in states is a subtle way to undermine federal efforts to regulate guns. The passage of Senate Bill 12 is a state action that will lower the barrier for individuals who wish to defend themselves, making it more difficult to limit efforts by the federal government in regards to gun control.
If Faced with a Weapons Charge
Criminal defense attorneys across the nation have representative individuals in cases where firearms are the main subject of contention. Some defendants may face a concealed weapons charge but be legally able to carry a firearm. With this new law in place, individuals in New Hampshire would not have to worry about such charges as there would be no law against concealed carry, as long as the individual is legally allowed to possess the firearm.
For gun enthusiasts, the new law is a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see if the bill gets the full support of the Senate or at least enough votes to move the bill forward in the process of becoming law.
By Robert Bartis