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Connecticut gun laws stricter than those in NH

Staff report
December 15. 2012 11:48PM

New Hampshire has relatively few laws restricting access to firearms, according to organizations that advocate gun rights and those that support stricter gun control legislation.

In the wake of Friday's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., pundits and politicians have already begun debating national and state gun control laws.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the National Rifle Association websites note that New Hampshire has no laws that prevent the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or handgun, except by convicted felons and minors. The state allows people to openly carry a handgun without a license, but requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

The Brady campaign, which is named after James Brady, the press secretary for former President Ronald Reagan who was shot during an attempted assassination of Reagan in 1981, ranked New Hampshire tied for 27th in a 2011 ranking of state control laws, giving the state six points out of a possible 100. The Brady organization ranked California at the top for gun control laws, followed by New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York.

"New Hampshire has weak gun laws that help feed the illegal gun market and allow the sale of guns without background checks," the Brady website said.

No ranking system could be found on the NRA website, though the NRA provides details about the state's gun laws.

Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan said she believes in looking for ways to increase safety in communities, but did not address gun laws specifically in response to questions posed by the New Hampshire Union Leader on Saturday.

"Our most important job is to ensure the safety of our families and communities, and we must always be looking for ways to keep New Hampshire's children safe from harm," Hassan said in a statement. "At this point, we are still learning the facts surrounding the horrific tragedy in Connecticut, but we owe it to those we've lost to come together and determine what can be done to make our communities safer and better. Now is the time to grieve, to mourn and to cherish the time we have with the ones we love."

Connecticut, meanwhile, has more stringent gun control laws, according to both organizations. It's ranked fifth on the Brady organization rankings, with 58 points out of a possible 100.

"Connecticut has strong gun laws that help combat the illegal gun market, prevent the sale of most guns without background checks and reduce risks to children," the Brady website said.

According to both organizations, Connecticut requires background checks and a permit to purchase handguns, requires a permit to carry a gun, whether openly or concealed, and requires that pistols and revolvers have trigger or gun-locking devices.

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