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Fish and guns: Commissioners face consequences

May 16. 2017 11:10PM

What does New Hampshire’s concealed carry license have to do with hunting and fishing?

Nothing, of course. Yet the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission decided to weigh in on a bill rescinding New Hampshire’s concealed carry permit requirement.

Local police chiefs liked being able to determine who was “suitable” to carry concealed, and Fish and Game has always been tight with law enforcement. So the commission drifted out of its lane earlier this year to recommend against passage of the “constitutional carry” bill. Fortunately, the bill passed anyway.

Gun rights groups are opposing the reappointment of Commissioner David Patch, claiming that gun owners can no longer trust him to stand up for them. The Executive Council takes up his nomination today.

Patch says he’s being “vilified” and “smeared.” Holding a public official accountable for his votes is not a smear.

Patch’s opposition to the concealed carry legislation had nothing to do with his work on the Fish and Game Commission. If he had kept his eyes on his own paper, his reappointment would not have been questioned. Playing politics has consequences.

Patch and his fellow commissioners have enough work to do without getting involved in unrelated legislation. Councilors should make sure Patch has learned that lesson before giving him another term.

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