New Hampshire Senate Blocks Bill Requiring Mental Health Records For Gun Purchases

The New Hampshire State Senate has shot down a bill that would have required the inclusion of psychiatric records in background checks for firearm purchases, arguing that such a measure would create an undue burden on the exercise of Second Amendment rights.

The proposed legislation sought to incorporate mental health records, such as psychiatric hospitalizations, into the background check process and establish a mechanism for confiscating firearms following certain mental health-related court proceedings. However, Republican lawmakers in the Senate argued that the bill would violate the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Republican State Sen. Daniel Innis expressed concern that the legislation could have enabled the state to seize firearms not only from individuals hospitalized for mental health issues but also from others living in the same household. This broad scope of potential confiscation was seen as a significant overreach by opponents of the bill.

Critics of the legislation, including Republican state Sen. Sharon Carson, also pointed out that the bill’s sponsors failed to engage with gun rights groups during the drafting process. Carson emphasized the importance of including the voices of gun owners in such discussions, stating, “It’s important that their voices are heard, but they’re never included in this process.”

The bill’s co-sponsor, Republican State Rep. Terry Roy, had never previously supported gun control legislation but caved to file House Bill 1711 in response to fear of backlash from a November shooting of a hospital security guard. 

The New Hampshire Senate ultimately rejected the bill, signaling their opposition to the imposition of psychological documentation requirements on the exercise of Second Amendment rights.

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