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Now In Control, Dems Move To Bring Back Ban On Guns In N.H. House Chamber


In one of his first major acts as House Speaker, Democrat Steve Shurtleff will try to bring back a ban on weapons inside the House chamber.

He plans to bring the issue up at a meeting of the House rules committee Wednesday morning, but it will require approval from the full House before it can take effect.

“It wouldn’t be in the hallways or the anteroom or other places like that,” Shurtleff said. “But in the chamber itself, we would ask that the body go back to the old practice of banning firearms in Reps’ Hall.”

Any changes to the rules on gun possession in other parts of the State House would likely have to go through the Joint Committee on Legislative Facilities, which includes representatives from both the House and the Senate.

Revising the House’s weapons policy has become something of a tradition with each transfer of partisan power in recent years.

Guns were long banned from the House chamber – even when changes were made to the possession policy for other parts of the State House – until 2011.

“In its first official legislative action, the Republican-led New Hampshire House voted yesterday to allow concealed weapons in the House chamber, gallery and anterooms,” the Concord Monitor reported on Jan. 6, 2011.

Democrats put the ban back in place after they took control two years later. Republicans scrapped it once again two years after that, and it’s remained ever since.

In 2017, Shurtleff tried to change the rules to require any lawmaker seeking to carry weapons on the House floor to first complete firearms training. Republicans tabled the proposal, according to the AP, “effectively cutting off debate.”   

Casey is a Senior News Editor for NHPR. You can contact her with questions or feedback at
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