NH: Need for preemption to stop towns from enacting local firearms bans

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This past spring the Milford selectmen banned shooting on the Brox property. This was in clear violation on RSA 159:26.
It is time to add penalties to this RSA for those that break the law. FL has penalties and here is a link to what happened down there.

https://www.floridacarry.org/issues/firearms-preemption

Since 1987 it has been illegal for local Florida governments to regulate firearms and ammunition.**The preemption statute was passed then so that Florida gun owners would no longer face a patchwork of local laws that was impossible to keep up with.**It was also passed to protect Floridians from local lawmakers who do not respect the citizens’ right to bear arms. The Florida Legislature never imagined that local leaders would thumb their noses at*Tallahassee and intentionally break the law*despite clear statute and appellate court decisions.**But they have for the past 24 years and the patchwork continued.
*
In 2010, Florida Carry, Inc. Co-Executive Director Richard Nascak and a cadre of*volunteers organized on web forums and banded together in an grassroots effort to fix the problems at the local level.***They contacted local governments and were shocked at the reactions they got.**Local leaders were quite happy to make criminals of lawful gun owners because there was no penalty for politicians and bureaucrats breaking the state preemption law.
*
“So, sue us!” was the general and sometimes literal response.**Lee County resident and attorney Patrick Buckley did just that.*He filed a lawsuit against his county’s park carry ban, knowing there was no provision to even recover his costs and fees should he win.
*
Richard Nascak engaged State Rep. Paige Kreegel for help and the NRA got involved to draft legislation that would put teeth in the long-abused statute.
*
Volusia County traded arguments for months with Florida Carry, Inc. Co-Executive Director Sean Caranna over its woodland and airport carry bans but finally backed down and repealed the preempted ordinances in March 2011 once it became clear that the Firearms Preemption Enforceability bill was on track to pass.
*
During the 2011 session, the legislature made it clear that they had had enough. On October 1st 2011, new penalties and a vehicle for recovery of attorney’s fees and costs goes in to effect. With days left to act, Florida counties, cities, and agencies are on notice.**Florida Carry will hold local leaders accountable and finally clear up the patchwork of unlawful restrictions on the right to bear arms in Florida.
 

jpk

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What we also need to go along with this is a mandate for the AG to pursue examples of unlawful/corrupt behavior at the town level

unfunded mandates and lack of clear enforcement vehicle wont help us

There's a lot of hokey/illegal shit that selectmen and town administrators perpatrate

Any chance that clarification to 644:13 would be included in an effort to add teeth to 159:26?
 

omega42

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There's not a lot of information on this on the interwebs. It appears that the ordinance was driven by noise complaints. The statute is below. The question is what to go for as enforcement. Cost recovery from the municipality and personal liability of violating officials come to mind.

159:26 Firearms, Ammunition, and Knives; Authority of the State. –
I. To the extent consistent with federal law, the state of New Hampshire shall have authority and jurisdiction over the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, firearms supplies, or knives in the state. Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, no ordinance or regulation of a political subdivision may regulate the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state. Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting a political subdivision's right to adopt zoning ordinances for the purpose of regulating firearms or knives businesses in the same manner as other businesses or to take any action allowed under RSA 207:59.
II. Upon the effective date of this section, all municipal ordinances and regulations not authorized under paragraph I relative to the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearm components, ammunition, firearms supplies, or knives shall be null and void.
 

MaverickNH

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OK - yeah. Gotta do something about this here in NH. Without penalties gun owners get stuck with both bills - the tax bill the towns use to pay their lawyers to illegally restrict guns and the lawyers gun owners pay to fight back.


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OK - yeah. Gotta do something about this here in NH. Without penalties gun owners get stuck with both bills - the tax bill the towns use to pay their lawyers to illegally restrict guns and the lawyers gun owners pay to fight back.


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The filing period for NH House bills is over so we are too late there. However, the Senate has not yet opened their bill filing period and the deadline to file is December 13th I believe.

So, contact your senator (only if you have a good one which at this time means a republican senator) and ask them to sponsor or co sponsor such a bill.
 
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We should let people know about this one
-Design

2018-2544
HB
Title:
relative to the state's authority to prohibit or regulate firearms and relative to the selectmen's authority to manage town property.
*
Sponsors:*(Prime)*J.R. Hoell, Daniel Itse, Alfred Baldasaro, John Burt, Jeanine Notter, Michael Sylvia, Ed Comeau, James McConnell, James Spillane, Scott Wallace

Language to follow shortly
 
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We should let people know about this one
-Design

2018-2544
HB
Title:
relative to the state's authority to prohibit or regulate firearms and relative to the selectmen's authority to manage town property.
*
Sponsors:*(Prime)*J.R. Hoell, Daniel Itse, Alfred Baldasaro, John Burt, Jeanine Notter, Michael Sylvia, Ed Comeau, James McConnell, James Spillane, Scott Wallace

Language to follow shortly


I totally missed that bill. Looks like we don't need to contact senators on this issue to sponsor (but should contact to get them to support). But don't let that discourage you from contacting your senator on a different issue that you think should be addressed.
 
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Both Connecticut and Massachusetts have laws against preemption but that doesn't stop a determined politician from ignoring the law 'for the children".

In Connecticut the state sets the standards for applying for a pistol permit. All 160 towns must comply with that application process which is pretty streamlined and has to comport to certain time lines. What some liberal towns have done is slather onto the state requirements things like having to have a credit check, multiple letters of recommendation, interviews with neightbors and even bosses at work. All that is bunk and an attempt at intimidation. An edict was issued by the State to the towns wrning them to scale back these extra requirements. If a candidate is flunked because he/she won't answer the extras, there is a board of examiners who will intervene and issue the permit.

In Massachusetts, a number of towns including Longmeadow, MA and of all places Lexington, MA attempted to severly limit firearms within their borders which is in direct conflict with the State's authority. Did the State care? No. In at least Longmeadow, the restrictions were soundly defeated by a vote of the town so it didn't trigger any other action by the state but if it had passed, it would have been interesting to see what the State's reaction would have been.

It might just be my observation but it seems to me that more and more politicians have begun to ignore the laws of the land and are attempting to do an end-run around them in any way they can. It's happening in towns and it's happening at the state level and the federal level as well. If they are successful it's difficult to go back and point out they didn't have the right to do what they did in the first place and their efforts gain a foothold. Frankly, I disgusted with that behavior. IT all comes down to that old saying, "who is the policeman of the policemen? If no one in the State stands up and puts a kabosh on that type of behavior then the progressives will continue to "check the perimeter" to find the weakspot.
 
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This is why these statutes need penalties:

IV.(a) Any person, county, agency, municipality, town, or other subdivision of the state, or other entity that violates the legislature’s occupation of the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, as provided in paragraph I, by enacting or causing to be enforced any local ordinance or administrative rule or regulation impinging upon such exclusive occupation of the field shall be liable as set forth in this section.

(b) If any county, city, town, or other local government violates this section, the superior court shall declare the ordinance, regulation, or rule invalid and issue a permanent injunction against the local government prohibiting it from enforcing such ordinance, regulation, or rule. It shall be no defense that in enacting the ordinance, regulation, or rule the local government was acting in good faith or upon advice of counsel.

(c) If the court determines that a violation was made knowingly, the court shall assess a civil fine of up to $5,000 for each violation against the elected or appointed local government official or officials or administrative agency head under whose jurisdiction the violation or violations occurred.

(d) Except as required by applicable law, public funds shall not be used to defend or reimburse the unlawful conduct of any person found to have knowingly violated this section.

(e) A knowing violation of any provision of this section by a person acting in an official capacity for any entity enacting or causing to be enforced a local ordinance or administrative rule or regulation prohibited under subparagraph (a) or otherwise under color of law shall be cause for termination of employment or contract or removal from office by the governor or other appropriate official.

(f) A person or an organization whose membership is adversely affected by any ordinance, regulation, measure, directive, rule, enactment, order, or policy promulgated or caused to be enforced in violation of this section may file suit against any county, agency, municipality, district, or other entity in any superior court of this state having jurisdiction over any defendant to the suit for declaratory and injunctive relief and for actual damages, as limited herein, caused by the violation. A court shall award the prevailing plaintiff in any such suit:

(1) Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in accordance with the laws of this state, including a contingency fee multiplier, as authorized by law; and

(2) The actual damages incurred, but not more than $100,000. Interest on the sums awarded pursuant to this subparagraph shall accrue at the legal rate from the date on which suit was filed.
 

strangenh

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The bill reads well. It's good you got a GOA attorney to review the FL equivalent and come up with a NH-specific law that works well with the existing GSAs.
 
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Both Connecticut and Massachusetts have laws against preemption but that doesn't stop a determined politician from ignoring the law 'for the children".
...
In Massachusetts, a number of towns including Longmeadow, MA and of all places Lexington, MA attempted to severly limit firearms within their borders which is in direct conflict with the State's authority. Did the State care? No. In at least Longmeadow, the restrictions were soundly defeated by a vote of the town so it didn't trigger any other action by the state but if it had passed, it would have been interesting to see what the State's reaction would have been.

It might just be my observation but it seems to me that more and more politicians have begun to ignore the laws of the land and are attempting to do an end-run around them in any way they can. It's happening in towns and it's happening at the state level and the federal level as well. If they are successful it's difficult to go back and point out they didn't have the right to do what they did in the first place and their efforts gain a foothold. Frankly, I disgusted with that behavior. IT all comes down to that old saying, "who is the policeman of the policemen? If no one in the State stands up and puts a kabosh on that type of behavior then the progressives will continue to "check the perimeter" to find the weakspot.

How many towns in MA have tried this now?
Granby
Lexington
Longmeadow
Westford
Westminster

I know I'm missing more.
 
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What you need to ask here is, "If any town pursues legislation that contradicts the State's laws in the case of the 2A, what OTHER laws might they try to take control of? Would they, say, make their town a "dry" town or enact sets of "blue laws" ? Could they also go the other way and, say, embrace the 2A and make their town a "santuary city" for firearm loving people? This is the road that they are traveling on.
 
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Looking for another law as a remedy against public officials breaking the law who have already sworn to uphold the law is...

Words fail me.

I agree that breaking the law should have consequences. I would also go out on a limb and venture a guess that most people who choose either making laws or law enforcement as a career hold the same opinion.

It just falls a bit short of explaining reality.
 

MaverickNH

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NH HB307 Preemption - I hear from a committee member that the vote went 14/10 R/D on party lines In favor of preemption penalties. Biggest risk is penalties get watered down or negotiated away in amendments, in my opinion.
 
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The Senate also gutted the bill by removing the word 'use' from the list of things that towns are prohibited from regulating. Current law is fine, the House version was fine, the Senate screwed things up.
Now things like hunting, target shooting, skeet shooting on private property, regulations like creating new ranges are all allowed to be controlled by selectmen.
2 steps forward, 3 steps back.
 

KBCraig

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The Senate also gutted the bill by removing the word 'use' from the list of things that towns are prohibited from regulating. Current law is fine, the House version was fine, the Senate screwed things up.
Now things like hunting, target shooting, skeet shooting on private property, regulations like creating new ranges are all allowed to be controlled by selectmen.
2 steps forward, 3 steps back.
Ah, the Senate... where good bills go to die, or get so hopelessly borked that we kill them.
 

556USER

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This thread reminds me of something.
Existing shooting ranges are protected by law in Massachusetts from cities and towns placing restrictions on them. If Hold It Healy becomes governor one wonders if that law might be repealed? I'm sure that she could not sign that bill quickly enough.
 

edmorseiii

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This thread reminds me of something.
Existing shooting ranges are protected by law in Massachusetts from cities and towns placing restrictions on them. If Hold It Healy becomes governor one wonders if that law might be repealed? I'm sure that she could not sign that bill quickly enough.
Not trying to be a dick here, but this thread is about NH legislation, not MA theories. There is a whole MA law sub forum for people commiserate about how bad MA is or will be.
 

BarnBuilder

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until law makers are held personally responsible for violations nothing will ever happen.

They are free to infringe and oppress at will without risk of personal loss of assets or freedom which is wrong.

Personal bank, investment, retirement and pension accounts, homes and motor vehicles and future wages should all be on the table that they would have to forfeit in a conviction of a violation.

They talk about cops being protected....nobody is protected as much as a politician.
1642945982074.png
 

strangenh

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The Senate also gutted the bill by removing the word 'use' from the list of things that towns are prohibited from regulating. Current law is fine, the House version was fine, the Senate screwed things up.
Now things like hunting, target shooting, skeet shooting on private property, regulations like creating new ranges are all allowed to be controlled by selectmen.
2 steps forward, 3 steps back.
Right. Use is stated in the current RSA's section on preemption. Removing "use" from HB307 as the senate version does removes it from the existing section and suggests that the otherwise-preempted authority doesn't apply to firearm 'use' restrictions (strictly legally, it doesn't grant any such authority without enabling legislation, but certainly suggests it, esp. based on one senator's commentary as to why she wanted 'use' removed). If it can't be fixed back to include 'use' it's likely we're better with the RSAs as-is and try again another term.

I suggest if we ditch this bill this round, a group should set up a structured, repeatable process for obtaining injunctions against the enforcement of town/city/entity rules violating the current preemption. That's playing whack-a-mole, which this bill was supposed to make unnecessary, but at least the violation of a court order has penalties.
 
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until law makers are held personally responsible for violations nothing will ever happen
People will say this from time to time on here. Has this ever actually happened ANYWHERE? More specifically, has it ever happened in regards to gun laws?
 

jpk

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Pretty sure that NH is NOT a "Home Rule" state. How do they even think they could get away with this? (Rhetorical Question of course)

This is correct

NH is NOT a home rule state and the legislature has previously passed RSA that clearly states that no subordinate political entity to the NH Leg may pass any law/ordinance wrt firearms/etc

The problem IMHO is that there's no explicit penalty and no enforcement......
 

xjma99

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This is correct

NH is NOT a home rule state and the legislature has previously passed RSA that clearly states that no subordinate political entity to the NH Leg may pass any law/ordinance wrt firearms/etc

The problem IMHO is that there's no explicit penalty and no enforcement......
So someone needs to get charged with this illegal ordinance?
 
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