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Entries in Gun Control (2)

Tuesday
Mar192013

Rep. J.R. Hoell - New Hampshire jobs, lives in the cross hairs of gun debate

By Rep. J.R. Hoell
Dunbarton, NH


It would seem absurd to almost anyone if a group of politicians said they wanted to ban a list of controversial books or require a background check that verified the completion of some civics education before anyone could vote in an election.

After all, the state and federal constitutions protect the right to free speech, regardless of where a person happens to be, and it also protects the equal right to vote in free elections for everyone who is 18 and older. Importantly, these constitutions specifically restrict the right to vote for people convicted of treason, bribery or violation of election laws, not to mention those individuals who happen to be 17 or younger.

Now, the federal Constitution also protects the right to “keep and bear arms” and specifically asserts that this right “shall not be infringed” by Congress. Our state Constitution protects the right of individuals who are “defending life and liberty” or “protecting property.” It also specifically affirms: “All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.” Unlike the right to vote, there are no constitutional restrictions on these very clear God given Natural Rights of self-defense.

Why then, is it not absurd for politicians to seek legal restrictions on citizens’ right to defend themselves from potentially lethal attacks “wherever they have a right to be,” as our state law now says? Why is it not absurd to require background checks before someone can buy a constitutionally protected product? Why is it not absurd to contemplate banning any weapon that a person can bear? How are these restrictions of the right to self-defense any different from the restrictions to voting or speech rights contemplated above?

Quite simply: Any restriction on gun rights or the right to self-defense is equally absurd and unconstitutional.

Yet, we now have a group of Democrat state legislators in the House who have made it their priority to violate gun owners’ constitutional rights, at the expense of safety and the New Hampshire economy. The same group of Democratic legislators who complained last session when Republicans lifted the unconstitutional ban on guns in parts of the State House reinstated the ban as their first order of business this year.

Then, the Democrats busily got to work on bills to ban guns in public buildings, to prohibit people from showing a gun to diffuse a violent confrontation, to allow violent aggressors to sue people who use their gun in self defense, to require people to take a safety course before buying a gun, and to force innocent people to run and cower from someone trying to kill, rape or seriously harm them.

All of the Democrats’ ideas to restrict gun rights this year are unconstitutional and a distraction from more important business, but the Democrats are now working overtime to convince you it is a compromise for them to advance HB 135, a bill that would make you a criminal for defending your life with a gun outside your house. That bill is scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

Perhaps New Hampshire Democrats expect a woman who is about to be raped to urinate or throw-up on herself as she’s trying to get away from her rapist rather than stop the rape with her gun? Or maybe Democrats expect a disabled man in a wheelchair to let an assailant tip over his chair and take his wallet instead of prevent potentially life-threatening injuries and the theft with his gun? Do they think the well trained, concealed-carry license holder should let a madman shoot 30 people before the cops arrive or take the clear shot that he has and stop the mayhem? Maybe Democrats want a young mother to allow her children to be murdered as she runs under a table to hide instead of take a weapon from her purse and save her most precious loved ones?

With their relentless efforts, it is clearly more important for House Democrats to stop law-abiding citizens from lawfully protecting themselves than to work on efforts to rebuild our struggling economy. What’s worse, a quick look at the statistics show how Democratic efforts to curb lawful gun rights in New Hampshire will actually contribute further to economic malaise.

By far, the firearms industry in New Hampshire generates more revenue per capita and employs more people per capita than the firearms industry in every other state. In New Hampshire, there are over 2,100 people working in the firearms and ancillary industries generating over $150 million of economic activity, according to the National Shooting Sports Association, yet the Democrats want to shut this industry down.

With their uncompromising action, it’s quite clear that Democrats are not only trampling all over constitutionally protected rights, they are also actively working to harm the economy.

 

Released by House Republican Alliance

Tuesday
Jan292013

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter - Time for Action

As I write this column, the news is covering still another shooting, this time on a college campus. We will learn who was involved, who was standing where when it happened, who witnessed it, who was hurt, who the hurt people’s friends and families are. Students—reportedly 10,000 students attend the college—will say how terrified they were. And then…the story of this shooting will be dropped from the news cycle, only to be replaced by another shooting story. And Americans will wonder why we can’t seem to stop the violence. Or can we?

When the children and teachers were executed in a mass murder at an elementary school, right before Christmas, while we were talking about love and faith and family and peace, everyone thought that this time, politicians would take action. It did seem for awhile that we had reached our breaking point, and that we would finally be ready to pass responsible gun legislation that would give us both the freedom to hunt and protect our families and the freedom to go about our daily lives without fear of being gunned down in still another act of violence. There was encouraging talk about passing legislation as quickly as possible, and President Obama did sign some Executive Orders with the families of the murdered six and seven year olds and the slain staff in the room.

The fight was already ugly, but that’s where it got uglier. The head of the National Rifle Association said that President Obama was “attacking firearms and ignoring children.” There was a sea of outrage that President Obama had children at the event. Children were at the site of the massacre—I think it is appropriate that children who knew it happened and wrote about it should be in the room when grownups say we are going to try to stop this from happening again to children, or anyone else. The NRA leadership also dragged the President’s own children into the fray, as they falsely warned that President Obama was going to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.

Some in Congress were upset at even the mildest suggestions, such as doctors asking if there are guns in the house so they can talk about safety issues involved when there are children in the residence. Doctors ask if somebody smokes around children. They talk about being safe and careful with candles and stoves, but apparently, they should not ask about a huge killer of children—guns.

It’s time to stop the fighting and work on the solutions here. It is time to stop bowing to special interests and yes, the money they bring to campaigns, and talk about how we are going to protect both the right to have guns for sport and for protection, and the right to be safe from gun violence.

The easiest step should be to require background checks for gun sales. This means gun sales involving most private sales also. The majority of Americans support this plan. We also need to make sure that critical information is available when there is a background check. Records right now are too often incomplete, and do not identify a buyer’s criminal history or a dangerous mental illness.

It is time to end high-capacity magazine sales. It used to be that citizens had a chance to get away from a shooter when he had to stop to reload. But with high-capacity magazines, the killer can just keep firing away a lot longer, murdering many more innocent folks. Hunters do not need to fire 30 rounds. Neither do citizens exercising their right to defend themselves. I support banning magazines holding more than ten rounds. This will help law enforcement and the public to disarm a mass shooter, and it will give people a better chance to escape a madman.

I support President Obama’s call to close loopholes in gun trafficking laws, and to beef up law enforcement in communities. Let’s also step up mental health services, and work together to encourage a reduction of violence in video games and television and movies. All of these ideas should be the easiest to enact. There is another step, an assault weapon ban, that will require more political debate, but these ideas listed here are common-sense ideas that should have no political test of courage attached to them. Can’t we at least get this done now? Let’s get it done now. It already has been a long and deadly wait.

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Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represents New Hampshire’s First District. She previously served the District from 2007-2011, and she was reelected in the November 2012 election. The Congresswoman is again serving on the House Armed Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.