We need background checks for commercial gun sales in New Hampshire

To the Editor:

I was extremely disappointed when I heard that the New Hampshire House voted down House Bill 1589, which would have required background checks for all commercial sales of firearms.

As I had been following the progress of this bill, it was my impression that the bill was almost a shoo-in as the House had earlier voted to support it as amended by a strong vote of 174-166 and previous to that had several times voted against tabling the bill or indefinitely postponing it. What then, happened on Feb. 12?

According to the organization Granite State Progress, which has been actively working to support this bill, “The votes were there but between the adoption of the committee version of the bill and the final vote, several other motions and an amendment were made that confused and complicated passage of the bill. This ultimately ended in the bill not formally passing the House.”

According to a Feb. 12, article “Background Checks Go Down in Defeat” in The Union Leader, “There was little debate on the bill’s contents, which would have expanded background checks to all commercial sales by requiring sales to be done through a federally licensed dealer.”

For people who have not been following the progress of this bill, it simply expands existing background checks to include sales at gun shows, flea markets, interstate and internet sales in order to prevent sales to those who should not have firearms. The sale or transfer of firearms between individuals who know each other or are family members, and are not legally prohibited from having firearms, would be permissible under the law.

According to a spokesperson for Granite State Progress, 89 percent of Granite Staters support criminal background checks for all gun sales.

We need to get House Bill 1589 – or something comparable – back in the House to be voted on in its original amended form, to help ensure the safety of all New Hampshire residents.