By Christian Wade | The Center Square
The New Hampshire House of Representatives has tabled a bill that sought to exclude the state from tougher gun control laws enacted by the Biden administration.
Senate Bill 154, which was approved by the Senate in April, would prohibit the state from enforcing any presidential executive order “restricting, limiting, encumbering, regulating, or placing conditions upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
The bill’s primary sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said the changes would “protect the rights of New Hampshire citizens to defend themselves and their loved ones” if the Biden administration issues any executive orders “restricting an individual’s ability to keep and bear arms.”
The House had approved a previous version of the bill, but it was amended with provisions that turned some GOP lawmakers off. On Thursday, the House voted 354-19 to table the updated legislation until next year.
Republican legislative leaders vowed to bring the measure back for a vote after lawmakers have had a chance to hammer out details of the plan.
“Let’s give them a chance to get this right,” Deputy House Speaker Steven Smith, R-Charlestown, said Thursday after calling for the measure to be tabled until 2022.
Democrats who voted against the measure in the House and Senate described it as a “political stunt” that would compromise public safety by easing gun control laws.
“Banning New Hampshire law enforcement and judges from helping to stop the sale and creation of illegal weapons, crack down on firearm trafficking or enact programs to reduce gun violence in our streets is not only alarming but likely unconstitutional,” Rep. Linda Harriott-Gathright, D-Nashua, said in a recent statement.
Second Amendment groups opposed a final version of the legislation they said was watered down with last-minute concessions that would have restricted gun ownership.
In April, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders aimed at beefing up the nation’s gun control laws in response to a spate of recent mass shootings.
The orders include restrictions on untraceable “ghost guns,” funding anti-gun violence programs, and limits on the sale of devices that convert handguns into short-barreled rifles.
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and an international embarrassment,” Biden said in recent remarks.
The issue of gun control in Washington was rekindled following recent back-to-back mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado, and Atlanta that claimed at least 18 lives.
Democrats in Congress have filed proposals for a ban on assault-style weapons as well as broadening background checks to include mental health evaluations.