GOP lawmakers in 3 conservative states reject gun control bills

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The dome of the New Hampshire State House, one of the trio of Republican-controlled legislatures that rebuffed efforts at more gun control in the past week. (Photo: @NHHouseofReps)

Republicans in Idaho, New Hampshire, and Utah have put the brakes on attempts to implement more regulation on guns so far this week.

A bill to strip gun rights from misdemeanor domestic abusers was rebuffed by the Idaho House on Monday 39-31, with those opposed citing Second Amendment reasons and calling the measure unenforceable.

“Statistics show if people want to have access to a gun, they will,” said state Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls, speaking against the proposal. “There’s no way for us to enforce this.”

Others pointed out the move simply mimicked a federal law already in place that prohibits those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from possessing a firearm. A fiscal analysis found that, by creating a state statute as well, as much as $31,000 a year in fines and fees could be collected from offenders, but this would largely be offset by increased workloads on Idaho’s courts, prosecutors, and public defenders.

In New Hampshire, the GOP-controlled House on Tuesday voted 178-144 against a proposal to ban bump stocks and raise the minimum age for rifle and shotgun sales to age 21. House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, of Merrimack, told the body that the rushed legislation should have been addressed earlier in the rapidly closing session, saying, “There was ample time during the session to develop amendments to existing bills, and that didn’t happen.”

In Utah, the House Judiciary Committee scuttled a proposal Monday that would have created a mechanism for police in the state to temporarily confiscate guns from those believed to be a threat to themselves or others. As in other states, with the House set to end its session in just a few days, heavy lifting on potentially divisive gun control measures proved unlikely, and Republican lawmakers were overall opposed to the move.

“This, to me, is more of a gun confiscation effort than it is a public safety measure,” said state Rep. Brian Greene.

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