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Firearms bill draws fierce debate before being tabled by NH House
Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, insisted the amendment was not “germane” to the original bill and should require a suspension of the rules, and a two-thirds vote, to be considered.
Vaillancourt vehemently challenged the speaker’s ruling, but she was upheld on a vote of 182-144.
Vaillancourt said the bill “has nothing to do with the amendment tacked upon us in a conspiratorial manner by the majority, who would want to rule by, dare I say, dictatorship.
He called the ruling of the committee chairman and then the speaker “the worst sort of political ploy. This isn’t just a study committee but goes way beyond the scope of that bill and should not have been allowed in.”
“That’s not how we decided this House was going to work,” he said. “This bill is exactly what we killed several weeks ago on the House floor, regarding studying firearms legislation.”
Democratic Rep. Robert Cushing of Hampton said it would be more effective to pass the bill and have “a gathering of all stakeholders around the table to take a comprehensive look at issues related to guns and gun safety.”
Rep. Gary Richardson, D-Hopkinton, called the moves “a device by the minority to frustrate the will of the majority.”
After the vote, House Republican Leader Gene Chandler said, “A simple bill with good intentions was targeted by anti-Second Amendment advocates in the Legislature as a vehicle for their agenda. The bill, as amended, was a dramatic departure from the intent of the original bill and is clearly an attempt to further the discussion on universal background checks and scrutiny on gun owners. The House, just over a month ago, already dismissed HB1589, a bill that sought to study similar issues. The bill was defeated by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, 242-118.”
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