New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Three Gun Bills

August 12, 2019


Matthew Hoy

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu on Friday vetoed three gun control bills in defiance of the "commonsense" cadre's calls for new laws to prevent "gun violence."

Sununu vetoed House 109, which closes the so-called gun show loophole and requires background checks for virtually all commercial firearms sales or transfers; House Bill 514, which requires a three-day waiting period before the purchase and delivery of a firearm; and House Bill 564, which prohibits carrying a firearm on school property.

“New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the nation, and we have a long and proud tradition of responsible firearm ownership. Our laws are well-crafted and fit our culture of responsible gun ownership and individual freedom,” Sununu wrote in a single veto message on all three bills.

The vetoes came less than a week after mass shootings killed more than 30 people in Texas and Ohio. The timing further fueled the outrage of supporters of the bills on an issue that sparks strong emotions on both sides under ordinary circumstances.

But Sununu wrote: “These three bills would not solve our national issues nor would they prevent evil individuals from doing harm, but they would further restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding New Hampshire citizens.”

New Hampshire's gun laws, which rate an "F" on the gun control advocate Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, nevertheless apparently result in a pretty safe state overall with a violent crime rate of 198 per 100,000 residents, making it the third safest state behind Vermont and Maine.

Sununu's strong Second Amendment stance stands in stark contrast last year's action by GOP Gov. Phil Scott of neighboring Vermont who signed a slate of gun control bills in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting. Vermont has had no mass shootings and ranks as the 49th-safest state in the union.

The legislation Scott signed included S.55, which mandates background checks prior to all firearm sales, raises the minimum age to buy a gun from 16 to 21, and bans bump stocks and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Scott's decision to knuckle-under to the gun-control left may have saved his job, even as Democrats increased their dominance in the statehouse. However, it's unlikely that Vermont gun owners will ever get their rights back, absent action from the federal courts.

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