All Sections
Welcome guest, you have 3 views left.  Register| Sign In

Bill would help gunowners who recover mental health

CONCORD — The state Senate Thursday passed legislation establishing a way for those who had been treated for mental health issues, and have recovered, to legally purchase or regain their firearms.

The bill now moves to the House.

Senate Bill 244 originally would have required those with court-determined mental illness to be added to the federal list of people prohibited from purchasing guns.

But after an outcry at a January public hearing by advocates for the disabled and gun rights groups, the bill was changed to set up a procedure for having a person's mental health records removed from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
Currently, there is no way for someone in New Hampshire on the federal prohibition list to have his or her name removed after being cured of a mental illness.

Another part of the bill sets up a commission to study the relationship between mental health and firearm.
The Senate, on a 13-11 partisan vote, eliminated the committee to study what the relationship between mental illness and the state's reporting guidelines to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Index.
Sen. Sharron Carson, R-Londonderry, said the commission is the most controversial part of the bill.

She urged her colleagues to approve the annulment process so those who experience mental illness but are cured could have their constitutional rights to bear arms be restored.
But Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, said the annulment process should not go forward without study.

"With annulment we are putting the cart before the horse," Soucy said. "I believe we should do some study before we move forward."
She said the proposal shifts the burden of proof to local or county government and raises the standard of proof, which would increase local and county costs.

Because the state does not report mental illness incidents to the federal list, Soucy said there is nothing to annul.
But Carson argued there are people caught up in a system they can't get out of. "This creates a path to restore their Second Amendment rights," she said.

The annulment proposal passed on a 17-7 vote.The bill now goes to the House where it faces an uphill battle.

Post or View Comments 

NH Maple Weekend NH Maple Weekend
All Weekend

Sap Gathering Contest Sap Gathering Contest
Saturday, 10 a.m.

45th Annual NH Camping and RV Show 45th Annual NH Camping and RV Show
Friday, 1-8 p.m.,
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.,
Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Ales for Tails Ales for Tails
Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

The Moth Mainstage The Moth Mainstage
Saturday, 8 p.m.

Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required

More State Government

NH Angle