There’s a bit of a battle brewing in New Hampshire over the Second Amendment and it came to a head on Friday. Republican Governor John Sununu broke out his veto pen and shot down three new pieces of gun control legislation passed by the legislature, where both chambers are currently led by the Democrats. In the process, he managed to make a couple of very good points about what liberals in his state are trying to do. (National Review)
A popular Republican governor faces a test from state Democrats.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu vetoed three gun-control bills on Friday: one establishing a three-day waiting period for those wishing to purchase a gun, a second prohibiting carrying a gun on school property, and a third requiring background checks on many private firearm sales.
“These three bills would not solve our national issues nor would they prevent evil individuals from doing harm, but they would further restrict the constitutional rights of law abiding New Hampshire citizens,” Sununu said in his veto message. “The New Hampshire Constitution states ‘All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.’ This language provides what many believe to be more expansive legal protections for gun ownership than the second amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Will the Democrats be able to override any of these vetos? They have a fairly comfortable majority in the lower chamber with a margin of roughly sixty seats. In the state Senate, however, it’s a 14 to 10 split in the Dems’ favor. They’ll need sixteen votes to override there, so it will require Republican help.
Also at issue here is the timing and somewhat tawdry appearance in terms of how these bills were advanced. Those bills were actually finalized in the legislature back on June 27. But Democratic senate president Donna Soucy left them sitting on her desk for nearly a month and a half, only packaging them up for delivery to the Governor’s desk after the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. To call the timing a bit suspicious is an understatement.
None of the three bills in question are particularly unusual when compared to laws in other states controlled by Democrats. A three day waiting period to purchase a firearm is actually rather tame compared to some of the others out there. (For example, it’s ten days in California and seven in Maryland. Most of the other states with waiting periods set it at three days.) The bill making schools “gun-free zones” has also cropped up in other states (making them even more tempting targets for shooters), as have the expanded background checks.
That doesn’t mean that any of them are particularly good ideas, of course, but New Hampshire Democrats seem to be following a fairly well-established playbook here. Sununu currently has the third-highest approval rating of any governor in the country, so I don’t expect him to catch too much flack from the voters over these vetos.