[Posted Sunday, October 21, 2012, at 6:45 p.m.]
By Evan F. Nappen, Pro-Gun New Hampshire General Counsel
Pro-Gun New Hampshire (PGNH) is the first to alert you to about this public hearing, to be held by the NH Department of Safety on Thursday, November 8, at 10:00 a.m. The hearing is about changes to the Department of Safety’s Administrative Rules under Saf-C 2100 which are due to expire and be reenacted or replaced. The hearing will be in the Second Floor Conference Room, NH Department of Safety, 33 Hazen Drive, Concord.
While these Rules concern the basis for denial of NH non-resident concealed carry licenses, they are often misapplied in court to justify denial of resident concealed carry licenses, and therefore must be corrected to protect NH residents as well as non-residents. The State has brought these Rules up to persuade the judge in every court case I have had for appealing a license denial, both resident and non-resident — AND THE RULES GO BEYOND THE LAW!
The proposed rulemaking includes the following changes (bad grammar and all) which are WRONG and must be OPPOSED:
1) Saf-C 2103.01 has been amended to make clear that convictions of misdemeanor charges involving drugs or violence that is older than 20 years is no longer a disqualifier for a nonresident pistol/revolver license.
2) Saf-C 2103.01 has been amended to include that an applicant under the age of 18 shall be denied a nonresident pistol/revolver license;
Making “…convictions of misdemeanor charges involving drugs or violence that is older than 20 years is no longer a disqualifier for a nonresident pistol/revolver license” is an improvement over the old Rule, which had no time limit. BUT: these types of misdemeanor convictions are NOT AT ALL a per se basis for denial of license under New Hampshire state law or Federal law. Someone who shoplifted or got caught with a joint 19 years ago should not be per se disqualified from getting a NH Pistol/Revolver license.
The Rule needs to be changed to eliminate all misdemeanor convictions as a per se basis for denial. The only possible exception might be for a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction, which IS a Federal gun disqualifier, and the ONLY misdemeanor with such force — although New Hampshire state law does not have such a disqualifier.
About age restrictions: Federal law does prohibit handgun possession for those less than 18 years old, BUT with important exceptions. New Hampshire carry licensing law under RSA 159:6 contains no such prohibition. The proposed Dept. of Safety Administrative Rule ignores the exceptions in the Federal law under USC Title 18 Section 922, key portions of which I’ve copied below.
So, if a non-resident less than 18 years old engages in farming or ranching, or is a member of the armed forces, and wants a New Hampshire Nonresident Pistol/Revolver License, he or she will be per se denied even though there are specific Federal exceptions allowing handgun possession in these circumstances. This is wrong and must be corrected.
There are other parts of the Rules which should also be changed, but the most important thing to remember is that these Rules for denial of non-resident carry licenses are misapplied and accepted by the courts to justify denial of resident carry licenses as well as non-resident licenses, and they must be corrected. Please make time to attend the hearing and support Pro-Gun New Hampshire’s defense of your gun rights.
Key portions of 18 USC 922(x):
(x)(2) It shall be unlawful for any person who is a juvenile to knowingly possess -
(A) a handgun;…
(3) This subsection does not apply to -
(A) a temporary transfer of a handgun or ammunition to a juvenile or to the possession or use of a handgun or ammunition by a juvenile if the handgun and ammunition are possessed and used by the juvenile -
(i) in the course of employment, in the course of ranching or farming related to activities at the residence of the juvenile (or on property used for ranching or farming at which the juvenile, with the permission of the property owner or lessee, is performing activities related to the operation of the farm or ranch), target practice, hunting, or a course of instruction in the safe and lawful use of a handgun;
(ii) with the prior written consent of the juvenile's parent or guardian who is not prohibited by Federal, State, or local law from possessing a firearm, except -
(I) during transportation by the juvenile of an unloaded handgun in a locked container directly from the place of transfer to a place at which an activity described in clause (i) is to take place and transportation by the juvenile of that handgun, unloaded and in a locked container, directly from the place at which such an activity took place to the transferor; or
(II) with respect to ranching or farming activities as described in clause (i), a juvenile may possess and use a handgun or ammunition with the prior written approval of the juvenile's parent or legal guardian and at the direction of an adult who is not prohibited by Federal, State or local law from possessing a firearm;
(iii) the juvenile has the prior written consent in the juvenile's possession at all times when a handgun is in the possession of the juvenile; and
(iv) in accordance with State and local law;
(B) a juvenile who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard who possesses or is armed with a handgun in the line of duty;…
(5) For purposes of this subsection, the term "juvenile" means a person who is less than 18 years of age.