Published DateCONCORD — Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) announced yesterday that he will vote against repealing the so-called "Stand Your Ground Law" when House Bill 135 comes before the full Senate.
In a prepared statement, Hosmer, a former assistant county attorney in Hampden County, Massachusetts, said that he made his decision "after listening closely to the people I represent and giving careful consideration." He noted that many constituents told him that "they feel more comfortable under the current law and now have a better understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities as owners of firearms."
Hosmer reaffirmed his support for the Second Amendment and stressed his commitment to "promoting safety for our citizens and our communities." He observed that "this law has so far had no negative effects and has not conflicted with these principles. "I'm not sure repealing it would make New Hampshire a safer community," he said.
The "stand-your-ground" law was enacted in 2011 over the veto of Governor John Lynch. It expanded the Castle Doctrine, which allows the use of deadly force without a duty to retreat in defense of one's home, by permitting the use of deadly force to defend one's person, without a duty to retreat, wherever one has a right to be. While upholding the Castle Doctrine, HB-135 would restore the duty to retreat, if possible, before choosing to use of deadly force in public places.
Last month the bill to repeal the statute, which was enacted in 2011 over the veto of Governor John Lynch, squeaked through the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives by just five votes, 189 to 184.
"This was a close call for me," Hosmer said yesterday, when the bill was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee. "My phone was ringing off the hook this morning," he remarked. "I had to tell people that I am not voting today because I am not on that committee. I have been contacted by more constituents on this bill than on any other issue."
Republicans enjoy a 13-11 advantage in the Senate, so Hosmer's position makes it that much harder for Democrats to find a way to muster a majority.