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House Lawmakers Kill Effort To Expand Gun Sale Background Checks

Gun Store
Flickr Creative Commons

House lawmakers have voted 242-118 to kill a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales in New Hampshire.

The vote this morning came after nearly two hours of debate, including a proposed amendment that would have created a commission to study the issue.

Current gun laws only require background checks from licensed gun dealers. The bill debated on the house floor Wednesday would have expanded those checks to include gun shows, flea markets and web sales. Under the bill, most private sellers would have been required to conduct background checks through federally licensed dealers.

An exception would have been made for noncommercial private sales between individuals not prohibited by federal law from buying a gun.

In support of the bill, Hampton Representative and Democrat Chris Muns argued that background checks are no different than airport security x-rays.  "We all agree to subject ourselves to this routine every day," Mus said, "at every airport in the country, because it is meant to protect all of us."

But opponents like Republican Representative Richard Meaney of Goffstown ultimately won the vote, arguing that background checks would chip away at second amendment rights by increasing gun purchase fees. "The best way to achieve a major negative change is to make it happen slowly in many unnoticed increments," Meaney said, "so it is not perceived as objectionable."

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