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Permission not Required: New Hampshire Governor Signs “Constitutional Carry” Into Law

CONCORD, N.H. (Feb 22, 2017) –  Today, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a “Constitutional Carry” bill into law making it legal to carry a concealed handgun in the state without a permit. The new law will also help foster an environment hostile to federal gun control in New Hampshire.

The new law went into immediate effect.

A coalition of 19 sponsors introduced Senate Bill 12 (SB12) on Jan. 5. The new law allows any person “not otherwise prohibited by statute from possessing a firearm in the state of New Hampshire” to carry a concealed firearm.

“The availability of a license to carry a loaded pistol or revolver under this section or under any other provision of law shall not be construed to impose a prohibition on the unlicensed transport or carry of a firearm in a vehicle, or on or about one’s person, whether openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded, by a resident, nonresident, or alien if that individual is not otherwise prohibited by statute from possessing a firearm in the state of New Hampshire.”

The law leaves the current conceal carry licensing process in place in New Hampshire, but extends the length of time a license remains valid from 4 to 5 years. This will allow residents who want to carry a concealed firearm in other states that have reciprocity agreements with New Hampshire to obtain a license.

“Constitutional carry is a big step toward being able to exercise a natural right that has been infringed at all levels for far too long,” ShallNot.org policy lead Scott Landreth said.

While constitutional carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions like passage of SB12 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

 

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