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Many Dems Vote to Deny Immunity for Gun Owners Whose Guns are Stolen

Not supporting a bill that "...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.”

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
Seat #:3095
Home Address:
114 Jeremy Hill Rd
Pelham, NH  03076-2111
Phone: (603)635-7215
Email: charlene.takesian@leg.state.nh.us

Representative Brenda Grady (d)
Hillsborough- District 21 (Merrimack)
Seat #:5031
Home Address:
7 Woodward Rd
Merrimack, NH  03054
Phone: (603)424-4589
Email: brenda.grady@leg.state.nh.us

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Apljak March 01, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Your 1997 poll showed 3% borrowed or given...Primary source? I think not. Taken from Family/friend (not borrowed or given) is and should be "illegally obtained" Hint-Don't lend your guns to your friends! Good friends know better than to ask!
James Shewey March 01, 2013 at 08:11 PM
If by my survey, you mean the Bureau of Justice, then yes, That is what it says. It also says that 9.1% of firearms are obtained through theft or burglary. Making my point that this isn't the only category out there. The overwhelming majority are not obtained through theft. I am guessing that borrowed or given is a category for those weapons not borrowed from a friend or family member or given to you by a friend or family member but still borrowed or given to you (Eg. Won as prize). You tried to paint these guns a stolen from a friend or family member. If they were stolen however, they would be in the theft or burglary category. I'm guessing that some of them may have been taken without asking, but family members probably don't want to admit it because who wants their son to go to jail. So either the family member should have reported the theft and was negligent in not doing so. In fact, if the police attempted to recover the weapon a murder could have been prevented or else they were loaning it to their friend or family member. As you agreed, these should be considered "illegally obtained" under the bill, which states "No person ... shall be held liable in a subsequent civil case for the criminal acts of another person who illegally obtains possession or control of such firearm and uses such firearm in the commission of a felony or a misdemeanor." which means no penalty for the family member.
James Shewey March 01, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I agree with you "Don't lend your guns to your friends! Good friends know better than to ask!" and I think that if you do and someone dies because of it, maybe you owe some restitution to the victims family for being a moron. If you are against that? What is your solution for shrinking that 35% of guns used in crimes? This category is responsible for the death of a first grade class in CT. If we want to keep angry people from taking our guns, we have to get serious about solving the problem. I agree banning isn't the right choice or a good option. But doing nothing isn't either. Personally, I would be for mandatory fines for this. Maybe paying a couple of grand for being irresponsible with your weapon will make you think twice about properly securing it (whatever that means in your situation. If that means a nightstand fine. If that means a gun safe, fine.)
steve forte March 01, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Apljak 2:28 pm on Friday, March 1, 2013 Your 1997 poll showed 3% borrowed or given...Primary source? I think not. Taken from Family/friend (not borrowed or given) is and should be "illegally obtained" Hint-Don't lend your guns to your friends! Good friends know better than to ask! Family and freiends was 35%. Im going to guess thats what he was talking about. Unfortunatly it dosnt show how they were obtained from famiy and friends or if family and friends had a legal right to own them in the first place. Then ya have the wopping 2% from a gun show
Apljak March 01, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Agreed, the numbers are very vague!

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