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New Hampshire House will vote on highly restrictive gun control bill

New Hampshire State House file photo Harry McClard
New Hampshire State House file photo Harry McClard
Harry McClard

New Hampshire's House of Representatives is scheduled tomorrow to consider the state's gun control advocates' latest attempt to restrict gun sales. The latest bill, HB1589, would require background checks for all almost all gun sales or transfers and even among family members.

HB1589, titled "AN ACT requiring background checks for all firearm sales", was amended in committee to now be titled "An Act requiring a criminal background check for certain firearm sales or transfers" after the bill met with some stiff resistance. There was very little substance change in the bill and the final version going to the floor for vote appears to be simply a change of some wording.

The initial version required a formal federal background check for every firearm transfer including loaning a gun (even for hunting purposes) except between immediate family members but under only very limited circumstances. That bill, if passed, would have been a nightmare to regulate but it shows the intent and strength of the gun control lobby.

The modified version with its new wording would be a little easier to regulate but it still would add severe limits on all sales and transfers including among family members. The revised bill focuses on "commercial" sales but it is likely that it will be held that any sale is technically a commercial sale.

The bill states “If the status of either party’s eligibility to own or possess a firearm cannot be ascertained, the transaction shall be completed through a federally-licensed firearm dealer”. I other words, if your son has acquired his first hunting license and you want to give him your grandfather's shotgun for Christmas, it would most likely be illegal for you to do so without going to a licensed gun shop to run a federal background on your son. And, it would additionally be illegal if you had received the shotgun from your grandfather and you had never had your personal information run through the FBI for a firearms background check. Otherwise, how do you prove that both parties were eligible?

The bill also mandates that a sale or transfer to even immediate family can occur only if it can be proved that the family member is legally eligible to own firearms, and the only current method to prove that is with a federal background check.

The burden to prove before transfer, which is defined in the bill as "the intended delivery of a firearm to another person, either with or without consideration of payment or promise of payment, and includes gifts and loans", even among family and close friends will likely kill the bill.

But then, it may pass. This same Democratic House of Representatives passed a bill that would legalize marijuana so stranger things have happened this session.

Why do the extremist gun control advocates go so far away from something that might be logical and just might gain the support of most of the various gun rights groups? That's a question only the gun control advocates can answer.

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