Opinion: New Hampshire jobs, lives in the cross hairs of gun debate

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.

Author: J.R. Hoell

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