Senate Republicans Pass Bill to End NH Gun Line

Contact Name: Marina Altschiller

Phone: (603) 271-3207

Email: marina.altschiller@leg.state.nh.us


CONCORD – Today, in a 3-2 party line vote, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Ought to Pass on SB 141, relative to the procedure for conducting firearm background checks. This bill would shift the state’s responsibility for background checks concerning the purchase, sale, and transfer of firearms to the FBI, and would abolish the longstanding Gun Line at the Department of Safety. The bill also transfers the state’s responsibility for conducting background checks for the purpose of approving or denying the return of firearms to individuals subject to protective orders for domestic violence or stalking to the counties.


After the vote, Senate Judiciary Committee members Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) and Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) issued the following statements:


“There were significant questions posed at the hearing for this bill that were never adequately resolved. I am deeply concerned that this legislation does not provide adequate protections or assurances that the federal system can sufficiently protect victims of domestic violence and stalking,” stated Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton). “SB 141was opposed by the NH Association of Chiefs of Police, who cited unintended consequences including significant safety concerns. Concerns for public safety should have carried the day today. I am disappointed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle still saw fit to pass this bill.”


“We should all have serious concerns about the state abdicating its responsibilities for something as important as background checks to the federal government, as well as downshifting responsibility for the safety of domestic violence and stalking victims to the county level. This downshifting of cost and responsibility to county sheriffs has not been given examined. And we received testimony that NH Dept. of Safety technology had been improved in December resulting in more timely application processing. I am disappointed in today’s vote to pass this crucial job off to the federal government and to downshift more work to our already counties occurred without more accurate fact-finding,” stated Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene).


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