CONCORD, N.H. – Supporters of a bill to repeal New Hampshire’s “stand-your-ground” law testified at a Senate hearing Tuesday that the law threatens public safety and has led to more homicides in states with similar laws, all when there was no defined need for it in the first place.
The law, pushed through by Republicans two years ago over a governor’s veto and objections from law enforcement, allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves any place they have a right to be without having a duty to retreat. The Democrat-controlled House voted 189 to 184 earlier in the session in favor of repeal.
Thirty Democrats defected either because they don’t support repeal or feared a backlash from gun groups in a state where support for gun rights is strong.
Three lawmakers were so upset that the repeal proposal passed the House that they filed a petition calling for the removal of their 189 colleagues who voted in favor of it. The petition alleges that voting for repeal was a breach of public trust and a violation of their oath of office to uphold the state constitution.
But the repeal bill’s House sponsor, Steve Shurtleff, D- Penacook, testified the measure has nothing to do with the right to bear arms, arguing that it simply returns New Hampshire to the self-defense law that was in place for 40 years prior to passage of the stand-your-ground law in 2011. The previous self-defense statute said a person does not have to retreat from intruders at home before using deadly force.