New Hampshire legislature will reintroduce the Castle Doctrine; warn Governor Lynch to put away the veto pen
When the new New Hampshire state legislature convenes next month one of the first issues that will be brought forth is a reintroduction of the “deadly force” bill that has failed twice under the previously Democrat controlled state legislature. Unfortunately the Union Leader article that I will be quoting from is only available in the print paper and not online, so I cannot provide a proper link to the source material.
Basically, the “deadly force” bill mirrors what is known as the “Castle Doctrine” which states that a person does not have the obligation to first retreat before using deadly force to protect himself or his family. The “deadly force” bill would also expand the right to self defense to apply to anywhere that the defendant has a lawful right to be.
Basically this law would reaffirm Article 2-a of the New Hampshire Constitution which states, “All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.” It is unfortunate that we actually have to pass legislation which reaffirms the state constitution but that is the world that we currently live in and if that is what it takes to assure that New Hampshire residents keep their right to bear arms than so be it–we will do whatever it takes.
The last time this bill was introduced it actually passed both the House and the Senate before being vetoed by Democrat Governor John Lynch. When vetoing this bill, Governor Lynch proclaimed that this legislation was unnecessary because the state constitution already made it clear that “citizens can stand their ground and use deadly force whenever necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones whose lives are in jeopardy.” However, one needs to look no further than the case of Ward Bird–who did not use deadly force, but merely showed a gun in defense of his property–to see that the law enforcement in this state, and the juries presiding over these cases, need to have the law strengthened in order to assure that innocent men do not go to jail simply for defending themselves.
But much has changed in New Hampshire since 2006 when the governor vetoed this legislation. With the election of last November, the Democrats went from having a majority in the State House, State Senate, and the Executive Council to the Republicans having a veto proof majority in the State House and State Senate, while also controlling the Executive Council by a 5-0 majority. And Representative Leo Pepino–who introduced this bill twice before and is also behind introducing it this time–has a message for Governor Lynch: “If he was smart, he’d stay home.” While the spokesman for Gun Owners of New Hampshire warned the governor that he could, “put away his veto pen because there are enough people to override it.”
It looks all but certain that the “deadly force” bill will now become law in New Hampshire one way or the other and this is a great victory for second amendment advocates in the state of New Hampshire, but if this does happen it symbolizes more than just a second amendment victory, because this emphasizes a point that I made while recapping the recent state elections in New Hampshire last month.
New Hampshire may have fared even better than most of the other states across the country and while Governor Lynch managed to hold on to his seat he has been reduced to nothing more than a figurehead. The Republicans hold a veto proof majority in both branches of the state legislature; they hold all of the cards for the next two years and the governor will be powerless to stop them. This will naturally pull the governor back to the center and New Hampshire will be better off for it in the long run.
This bill–assuming it becomes law–symbolizes the changing times in New Hampshire and I am looking forward to seeing how New Hampshire progresses in the next two years.