How would many Democratic N.H. House Reps (including the only Merrimack Democratic House Rep), one Republican Rep, and hoplophobes answer the following questions:
Question One: Suppose someone hotwires your F-150, spins a few doughnuts in your neighbor’s lawn, and then proceeds to tear through an intersection, only to T-Bone a Statey. Do you think you should also be liable because it’s your truck?
Question Two: Suppose someone breaks into your house, locates your Louisville Slugger collection, finds your favorite lumber, and then proceeds to bludgeon mailboxes, a mail truck, and then a mailman with it. Do you think you should also be liable for that because it’s your baseball bat?
Question Three: Now, suppose someone breaks into your house, locates your prized Smith & Wesson “most powerful handgun in the world Eastwood edition” .44 Magnum, steals it, shoots out your neighbor’s windows, and then holds up a 7-Eleven. Do you think you should also be liable for that thief’s actions because it’s your gun?
If you answered, “No” to at least the last question, you answered differently than those that I mentioned at the start. However, you’ll be glad to hear that House Bill 388 was put up for a vote last Wednesday in the House of Representatives and passed, and is now on to the Senate. Its text in part reads, “This bill provides civil immunity to the owner of a firearm in the event the firearm is used in the commission of a felony or a misdemeanor” and was illegally obtained.
What initially struck me as odd is probably the same thing that’s striking you as odd. And that is, why was this bill even necessary in the first place? It seems to me that the other two scenarios I scribed are just as absurd as the third, and the answers to the questions would be “No”.
Ahh... but upon further consideration, those other scenarios don’t involve the, gulp, “g” word <insert horrified woman’s scream here>. And that panic-inducing stimulant tends to stimulate the constitutionally untethered politician (there are many) and hoplophobics to twist any word, phrase, expression, or weather pattern into meaning, “no guns”, followed by a <insert horrified woman’s scream here>.
And they’ll act accordingly and often haphazardly without thinking. A recent execrable example of such actualized panic was the proposed legislation in Washington state that called on the sheriff to enter the homes of gun owners, without a warrant, to inspect their storage. Some people just lose it when it comes to guns. And they are not just politicians, but judges, jurists, lawyers etc.
Opponents to the H.B. 388 argue that it is unnecessary as there is no need for it. I don’t agree with this view given the irrationality displayed by some when the “g” word is invoked such as the example just cited and our nation’s litigation infatuation. They prefer that gun owners should be treated differently because they are trying to defend themselves with something other than a whistle, vomit, or urine.
I understand, the opponents don’t see a need, but what’s the harm of passing the law? What’s it costing them? It’s not increasing spending, taxes, violating rights etc. Why vote against it? It’s just making the gun owner immune from being responsible for another person’s criminal behavior. How can you be against that?
Who knows, but it appears many are. As you might expect, the vote was not unanimous. Gun owners and others concerned may want to peruse the entire Roll Call votes here and note the “Yea’s”. (It was a vote to kill the bill, so voting “Yea” means you want to kill it). Most Democrats voted to kill the bill–not surprising– but there was also one Republican that I found who voted to kill it. (Her contact information is below, if you’d like to ask her about it.) I urge everyone to take a look at your Rep’s vote to see if they think gun owners should be liable for the criminal behavior of others. You may be surprised.
For fellow Merrimack-ians, I included the contact information of the only Merrimack Representative who voted to kill the bill (i.e. leave gun owners vulnerable to legal action if their firearm is stolen and then used in a misdemeanor or felony). Naturally, she’s a Democrat.
Representative Charlene Takesian (r)
Hillsborough- District 37
114 Jeremy Hill Rd
Pelham, NH 03076-2111
Representative Brenda Grady (d)
Hillsborough- District 21 (Merrimack)
7 Woodward Rd
Merrimack, NH 03054