House Rules Changed to Prohibit Guns in Representatives Hall

The NH House of Representatives voted 220-163, on Wednesday to restore a prohibition on deadly weapons in Representatives Hall and the House visitor’s gallery, which previously existed from 1971-2011 and 2013-2015.

The roll call vote to amend House Rule 44(a) followed a motion to tab le the amendment, which failed 164 – 221, and one and a half hours of debate. Following passage of the rule change, House members who were not on the prevailing side proposed four separate amendments to the adopted rule, all of which failed.

House Majority Leader Doug Ley (D-Jaffrey) released the following statement on the rule change to ban guns from the House chambers, gallery, and anteroom:

“The amendment adopted today simply restores the House Rule that was in place for decades under the leadership of both parties, which upholds public safety by forbidding deadly weapons in the House chamber.  State House security personnel are armed and trained to ensure the safety of our legislature and the public. No one needs to bring their gun on the House floor any more than they need it in a courtroom or on an airplane.”

“Since Republicans first changed House Rules to allow guns in 2011, there have been numerous instances of lawmakers mishandling their weapon on State House grounds.  Guns have been dropped in packed committee rooms on multiple occasions.  Given the number of people who frequent the State House on a daily basis, including the thousands of fourth grade students who come each year to learn about state government, policies that allow these incidents to occur are clearly unacceptable.”

“This is simply a matter of public safety.  Allowing lawmakers and members of the public to bring their guns to the State House clearly increases the potential for an avertible tragic event. The amendment passed today restores common sense to our practices in the legislature.”

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