State Rep. Dan Itse, R-Fremont, has agreed to provide a Republican perspective to what’s going on in the legislature each week for InDepthNH.org readers. An engineer, Itse has represented Rockingham County since 2001.
By Rep. Dan Itse
This week there were two actions by the Democrats, both went down to resounding defeat. One was relatively vanilla, to end the long-term tradition of chairmen choosing to hold executive session regarding bills that a clear course of action on the same day as the public hearing.
The other was a targeted attack on a freshman Republican. The measure would have required state Representatives to engage in a gun safety course prior to carrying concealed in the hall, ante room or gallery.
This was all political maneuvering. A couple of weeks prior, a freshman Representative had entered the Education Committee room. When she removed her backpack, the backpack dislodged her pistol from its holster.
The pistol fell to the floor. There were a couple of children nearby. Unfortunately, but predictably, the AP press mis-reported the incident. They failed to learn that the pistol had in fact been holstered, that she had in fact already completed multiple firearm safety courses, that she was continuing her education. That didn’t stop the bad information, or proposing bad rules.
The proposed rule was defective on three counts. First, the underlying rule is “don’t ask, don’t tell.” If Representatives can’t be asked if they are carrying, how do you enforce a perquisite. Second, the rule didn’t make any specifications on the firearm safety course. Either anything could qualify, or a Representative could take multiple courses and be denied. Third, members of the general public are allowed to carry concealed in the gallery.
The proposed rule would have put Representatives in an inferior position in the gallery, which by the way is open to the floor.
The proposed rule was announced on the floor. Rep. Steve Shurtleff led off his advocacy for the new rule with “This isn’t anti-gun” which was met with guffaws and laughter, appropriately gaveled down by the Speaker. The motion was made to table the rule change, and the Speaker announced the request of a roll call by Representative Gene Chandler.
He asked if there were the necessary 10 seconds for the roll call, probably over 100 Republican Representatives stood to second the roll call. The Tabling motion passed 208 yea to 156 nay. Republicans voting yea.
The opinions expressed here are the author’s.