A bill repealing New Hampshire’s long-standing law requiring a concealed firearms permit was repealed by the House 212 to 150 on Wednesday.
In a statement Governor Maggie Hassan said before the vote that she would veto the bill, adding that the permitting system allows for local law enforcement to better keep the community safe.
But Republican John Tholl of Whitefield, a former state police officer, told his colleagues these public safety concerns are overblown.
“If I know that after 44 years in law enforcement, criminals do not apply for permits and if I further believe that passing senate bill 116 would result in basically no change for those who decide to carry or not carry would I now press the green button,” he said in the House Chamber.
Goffstown Republican John Burt agrees adding that, “states that have constitutional carry are safe states, everything is fine – nothing different happened, other than they do not need to get a conceal and carry license.”
But Bradford Representative Geoffrey Hirsch, who spoke against the bill, said a recent public policy poll shows 71 percent of N.H. voters are opposed to the measure.
“This bill is the result of some legislators going well beyond what our voting population thinks is acceptable in an attempt to appease some outside interests,” he told fellow members.
To override the Governor’s promised veto would require two-thirds vote by the legislator, which based on Wednesday’s House vote seems unlikely.