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N.H. House Bans Guns From Floor And Gallery

The New Hampshire House has voted to 196-153 to ban deadly weapons from Representatives Hall.

The debate over prohibiting guns in the House chamber split along party lines. Democrat Steve Shurtleff, the House’s new Majority Leader, and a former U.S. Marshall, said making the House a gun free zone amounted to common sense.

“This is the seat of our state government, but it’s also a classroom for all of our citizens, and that’s why I support the ban on weapons in this house.”

But Republicans argued that barring lawmakers from carrying guns on the floor and citizens from carrying them in the gallery violates the constitution. For Representative Bill O’Brien of Mont Vernon, who fought to lift a decades old gun ban as House Speaker two years ago, this debate was also an early chance to criticize his Democratic successor Terie Norelli.

"If you know, madame speaker, this feel good measure, not only makes us less safe, it begs the question after your promises to concentrate on the budget, jobs and the economy, the first bit of significant legislation you bring forward is this radical gun control legislation."

The G.O.P.-controlled state Senate has no similar rule banning guns. And the rest of the State House complex, including the Legislative Office Building is controlled by a joint House-Senate committee. 

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