Last week, the Senate voted SB 141, which will abolish the delay prone “gun line,” “ought to pass.” SB 141 was then sent to the Senate Finance Committee which is Chaired by Senator Gary Daniels.
On March 23, 2021, the Finance Committee scheduled an executive session to review the financial aspects of SB 141.
Yesterday’s session was adjourned and SB 141 was tabled for a week.
Executive Sessions are different than public hearings. Senators speak amongst themselves about the merits of a bill, but in general, neither the public nor department heads are permitted to speak.
However, Chairman Daniels allowed County Sheriff’s, the Commissioner of the Department of Safety and a representative of the court system to all testify against SB 141. Testimony on the merits of SB 141 was taken when the Senate Judiciary Committee heard the bill on February 16. There was no reason to re-open the bill for general comment after the full Senate voted SB 141 “ought to pass” on March 18. Yesterday’s committee meeting was only supposed to be for Senators to discuss the financial aspects of the bill. Because the meeting was not listed in the Senate Calendar as a public hearing, I did not sign up to speak in favor of SB 141.
We heard about incomplete criminal records, that do not have a date of birth as well as other flaws — such as close to 200,000 records without a disposition. A claim was made that because of these problem records the “gun line” cannot be disbanded. This is ludicrous, the courts and state police have a duty to maintain up to date and correct records; a bureaucratic failure is not a reason to keep in place a “gun line” that, for over twenty years, has failed to provide a timely response to gun dealers. Senator Giuda insisted on getting detailed answers about why the State Police have incomplete records.
Nevertheless, Senator Giuda, a true Second Amendment champion, pressed the Commissioner and worked hard to get answers that contained useful information about the true cost of the “gun line.” The costs are running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We heard about state troopers who are answering the “gun line” telephones instead of policing our highways. These troopers may ease the work load, but at a significant financial cost to New Hampshire. And even with this change, dealers are still reporting excessively long wait times for an approval for a handgun sale.
You can click here to watch the committee executive session.
I am confused that Senator Daniels allowed an executive session to be turned into a quasi public hearing. Over many years, he has been a strong ally. As recently as last week, he voted yes on the “ought to pass” motion when SB 141 was before the full Senate. And in 1999, as a State Rep., he voted against HB 537 which established the “gun line” in the first place.
SB 141 is vitally important legislation that is needed to abolish the delay prone “gun line.”
Here is what you need to do, today. Please use the above form to email all members of the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to vote SB 141, “ought to pass” without any further delays or tabling motions. If you would like to make a phone call, click here for the Finance Committee roster. When you call, please remember to be polite but firm.
There has been a lot of misinformation and disinformation circulating about SB 141. By clicking here and following all of the links within, you can read our past alerts on this important issue to better understand why we are fighting to disband the broken “gun line.”
Have you experienced a long delay? Are you a gun dealer having trouble with the “gun line”? Then please click here to tell us about it.