NH Senate Votes to Rescind Permit Requirement for Concealed Carry

On February 12, the New Hampshire Senate voted to rescind the state’s permit requirement for concealed carry of handguns.

If the measure passes the House and is signed into law, “New Hampshire will join five other states that recognize a constitutional right to carry… openly or concealed, without a permit from the government.”

According to the Union Leader, the bill was passed with a party line vote of 14-9.

The bill was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-3rd Dist.). He stressed that the bill does not “change any other state… laws,” but corrects a problem with concealed carry whereby a person openly carrying a gun without a permit finds themselves in violation of current state law if they put on a coat that covers—or conceals—the gun.

Senator Sharon Carson (R-14th Dist.) added: “This bill recognizes that the simple act of putting on a coat should not require a permit.” Senator Andy Sanborn (R-9th Dist.) concurred, pointing out that under current law, a citizen instantly “[goes] from being a law-abiding person to being a criminal” by putting on clothing that covers the gun.

In opposing the bill, Senator David Pierce (D-5th Dist.) intimated that constitutional carry would “increase chances of a basic argument turning deadly” and Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-21st Dist.) described the move as “crazy.” Neither senator explained how a state that already recognizes the right to open carry without a permit suddenly dives off the edge of sanity for recognizing the right to concealed carry without a permit as well.

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