The New Hampshire Senate killed a bill that would have made concealed carry permits optional. R.I.P.
The bill, HB 536, lost the vote 17-7. The bill will remained tabled for the 2012 session, after which it will be removed. In all honesty, it was probably just speeding up the inevitable. The governor vowed to veto the bill if it ever reached his desk.
If it had been passed, New Hampshire residents would have been allowed to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Concealed carry permits still would have been useful for gun owners travelling over state lines into areas that did require a permit.
Several of the senators voting on the bill went against their old pro-gun track record. Sen. Jack Barnes of Raymond lamented that this was the first time he voted against pro-gun legislation during his 22 years of service.
What caused this sudden change of heart? The HB 536 had rather unfortunate timing. It reached the Senate in the wake of an unnaturally high number of fatal death shootings in NH wherein there were 10 shootings in as many days. Even staunch gun rights advocates couldn’t bring themselves to vote for this bill after such terrible tragedies.