New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan made her intentions clear Wednesday with respect to Senate Bill 116, which would remove the state’s concealed-carry permitting process replacing it with a Constitutional or permitless carry standard. Make no mistake about it, Gov. Hassan is going to veto SB 116.
“New Hampshire’s current concealed carry permitting law has worked well for nearly a century – ensuring the Second Amendment rights of our citizens while helping to keep the Granite State one of the safest states in the nation,” said the Democratic governor in a statement. “Law enforcement, as well as citizens across New Hampshire, have strong public safety concerns about allowing people to carry concealed guns without a license and oppose removing the protections that the licensing process offers to help ensure that potentially dangerous individuals are not allowed to carry hidden weapons.”
“Our permitting system gives an important oversight role to local law enforcement, while allowing for appeals through appropriate channels,” she continued. “In his book Live Free or Die, Republican Governor Mel Thomson said that the current permitting process for concealed carry is ‘a sensible handgun law that leaves the issuance of handgun permits to the discretion of [local law enforcement]’. That is as true today as it was then. By passing Senate Bill 116, the legislature would be taking a step away from our tradition of common-sense gun laws, and I intend to veto this measure if it passes.”
Currently, New Hampshire has a ‘may-issue’ concealed carry standard that leaves the decision on whether one can exercise their Constitutionally-protected right to bear arms up to law enforcement. Police make the ultimate call on whether an applicant is “suitable” to carry a concealed firearm.
SB 116 cleared the state Senate in February and sailed through the GOP-controlled state House this week with an overwhelming majority. Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, the bill’s lead sponsor, is hoping that Gov. Hassan signs the bill into law.
“I hope the governor will embrace this right of New Hampshire citizens to protect their lives, liberties, and loved ones,” Bradley said in a statement.