House Committee Endorses Gun Ban
A Seacoast lawmaker requested a ban in the wake of the Newtown shootings.
UPDATE, 7 p.m.
The House Rules Committee on Thursday voted 6-4 to ban lawmakers from carrying guns at the Statehouse.
The ban proposal will go before the full House when it convenes Jan. 2.
In the wake of the Newtown, CT shootings, a New Hampshire state representative has proposed banning lawmakers from carrying guns in the Statehouse.
Under current House rules, lawmakers are allowed to possess guns in session.
State Rep. Rebecca Emerson-Brown, D-Portsmouth, requested the House Rules Committee change the rules and institute a ban. The ban would not apply to armed security guards.
"Politics is passionate and adding firearms to that mix is deadly," said Emerson-Brown, who's serving her first term in the House.
The current rule allowing lawmakers to carry guns was put in place two years ago under the leadership of former House Speaker William O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon. He said it's an important deterrent against crazed individuals from launching attacks.
"Those who would misuse guns haven't come to the Statehouse," O'Brien said.
He said gun-free zones like schools and movie theaters aren't necessarily safer, evidenced by the Newtown and Aurora shootings this year.
Emerson-Brown, who doesn't own a gun, said she heard from parents who are afraid to let their children visit the Statehouse on student field trips.
"Nobody should be intimidated at the Statehouse," she said.
She continued, "It's not about taking away someone's right to have a gun. It's about having a safe Statehouse."
O'Brien said it's "disappointing" that her proposal pertains to something other than the state's economy, which he said should be the focus of early legislative efforts this session.
Emerson-Brown's proposal could be discussed today when the House Rules Committee meets.