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New Hampshire: Gun rights bills move in House

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Unread 03.16.11, 12:36 PM
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New Hampshire: Gun rights bills move in House

Posted: 03.16.11 02:35 AM

CONCORD – Laws would ease on owning, carrying and using firearms under bills the New Hampshire House passed Tuesday.
The so-called "Ward Bird bill" was among the bills that passed easily, largely on the strength of Republican support for more deregulation of firearms laws.
Bird, a Meredith farmer, was imprisoned for a mandatory three- to six-year term on a criminal threatening conviction for brandishing a firearm during a trespassing dispute. He served a short time in prison before his sentence was recently commuted.
The House also approved bills allowing almost anyone to carry concealed weapon and to use them to defend themselves in public places.
All three bills passed by wide margins.
House Bill 378, which allows a property owner to display a firearm during a trespassing dispute, passed 304-54. The bill states that someone on their own property dealing with someone "who refuses to leave and displays a firearm or other means of self-defense with the intent to warn away the person shall not have committed a criminal act."
The House also passed HB 207, allowing a person to use deadly force to defend themselves or others anytime they are in a place they have a legal right to be. Current law requires a person to retreat if they can do so safely.
Rep. Kenneth Kreis, R-Canterbury, said, "People should not have to worry about being prosecuted for defending themselves." He said concerns about criminal prosecution should not hamper people who are faced with what he said are split-second decisions.
Rep. Laura Pantelakos, D-Portsmouth, said the bill is aimed at a problem that doesn't exist.
"No one has been jailed for not retreating," she said. "New Hampshire is a state that passes laws that solve problems, but does not change a law when there is no problem."
The bill passed, 270-92.
A bill that ends mandatory licenses to carry a concealed pistol or revolver, HB 330, passed 244-109. The bill allows most people, except convicted felons or those with a history of mental illness, to carry a concealed weapon, loaded or unloaded, without a license. The bill also repeals a law banning transport of a loaded gun in a vehicle, cuts the license fee for non-residents to $50 from the $100 level in effect now.
Rep. John Tholl, R-Whitefield, said the bill is "a reasonable compromise. . . . It allows the citizens of New Hampshire to carry concealed weapons without a license in any place not prohibited by law."
The House rejected two other bills on self-defense, and passed a bill, HB 225, that requires police to quickly return property seized under court order once charges are dismissed or a person is found not guilty.

2011, Union Leader Corporation

Source: http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/InTheNews.aspx?ID=14898
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