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On concealed carry: For once, follow Vermont

In the "Live free or die" state, the local government has the power to decide whether the citizen has "any proper purpose" for carrying a concealed handgun. It is a power we, the people, gave the state, which delegated it to local officials. It is a power we ought to take back.

Vermont, where people generally are less free than they are here, trumps New Hampshire when it comes to gun rights. Just over the Connecticut River, a gun owner can holster his weapon, throw on a coat, and go about his business without having to receive permission from the government. That sounds really bad to too many New Hampshire legislators.

House Bill 451, up for a vote today, would repeal the law requiring a permit to carry concealed. According to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, which opposes the bill, "(t)he present system ensures that local police departments do not issue licenses to persons that should not have them."

Actually, the law states that licenses shall be issued for hunting, target shooting or self-defense. It essentially orders licenses to be issued except for good cause. But chiefs have been known to abuse the authority the law grants them and deny or delay license approvals at will.

Opponents of HB 451 fear that removing the permitting process will turn New Hampshire into a lawless dystopia where gunslingers and gangsters battle daily for control of the mean, blood-stained streets, lined with the bodies of innocent victims. You know, just like Vermont.

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