NH House bails on anti-Biden gun control bill

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Jun. 24—BEDFORD — After Second Amendment supporters said negotiators had turned it into an "anti-gun bill," House Republican leaders pulled the plug on a legislative protest of Biden administration gun control moves.

The bill, (SB 154) which had grown into a GOP priority this year, attracted broad opposition from gun rights leaders who considered it an ill-fated compromise.

Deputy House Speaker Steven Smith, R-Charlestown, had moved that the House table the measure and start over with a new bill in 2022.

"I would like an opportunity to have a meeting of the minds this summer to work on a retained bill," Smith said. "Let's give them a chance to get this right."

Rep. Max Abramson, R-Seabrook, vainly tried to keep the compromise alive.

"The Biden-Harris administration just announced another round of quote, 'super-charged federal gun control' unquote," Abramson said. "Let's pass this critical bill when there is still time."

The House disagreed, voting 354-19 to table or kill the bill.

The liberal Granite State Progress, which supports Biden's gun control plans, celebrated the bill's demise.

"The gun lobby rejected the amended version of the bill because it didn't go far enough in harming the Granite State," said Zandra Rice Hawkins, the group's executive director.

This was the only one of three dozen committees of conference-agreed bills that died.

The House narrowly endorsed a change in the state primary election (HB 98) to move the date up five weeks to the first Tuesday in August.

Gov. Chris Sununu has said he would likely veto the change and the House's 192-183 vote would suggest he'd win this game of chicken over the bill.

The House on Thursday did sustain Sununu's only veto of legislation so far in 2021, voting 175-182 to override Sununu's veto of a bill (HB 184) that would ban jet skis riding in watershed areas of Rye and New Castle.

It takes a two-thirds majority vote of both the House and Senate to override the governor's veto.

Only 18 House Republicans voted to overcome Sununu's veto; not a single House Democrat backed the veto.

klandrigan@unionleader.com

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