To The Daily Sun,
Last November, New Hampshire voters identified the opioid crisis as the No. 1 issue facing the state. Yet, the state Senate spent part of their first week of the 2017 session on a bill (SB-12) that repeals the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed handgun. The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police opposed an identical bill in 2015, vetoed by Governor Hassan.
New Hampshire is an "open-carry" state, meaning no permit is required to own, register, or carry an unconcealed firearm. Under current law, individuals must, however, apply for a permit to carry a concealed gun. A town's law officer, who issues the permit, has some discretion in reviewing the justification for a permit and the applicant's background, such as mental illness or drug addiction. The proposed legislation removes this safeguard and extends the time for which the permit is valid from four to five years.
Application fees ($10 for a resident; $100, for non-resident) have generated nearly $1 million for the general fund in each of the last three fiscal years. This revenue would be lost with passage of this legislation, championed by Wolfeboro Senator Jeb Bradley, both this year and in 2015.
Public opinion polls show that the majority of Americans favor stricter gun regulation — not less. Among the least restrictive on firearms purchase and licensing in the nation, our state should remain one of the 42 states requiring a concealed-carry permit. I urge readers to demand that Senator Bradley and his Senate colleagues reject SB-12.
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