On unsteady footing after weapons ban is lifted in N.H.

January 16, 2011

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AS A New Hampshire resident, I read with interest Sarah Schweitzer’s article on ending the ban on concealed weapons in the New Hampshire State House (“GOP leaders hail gun OK in N.H. capitol,’’ Page A1, Jan. 12). Republican Representative Al Baldasaro says he feels safer now that concealed weapons are allowed on the House floor and in the gallery. Speaking for myself, a citizen who does not carry or own a gun, I’d like Baldasaro and other advocates of concealed weapons to consider the following scenario:

We are in a packed and tense room in the State House where a public hearing on a contentious issue is taking place. Someone draws a gun and starts waving it at the chairman, who is also holding a gun. What now happens? At least as likely as any other scenario is that several people, including the hypothetical representative, would draw their guns, and at least some would start shooting at the person waving the gun. Probably he or she would be killed, but how many others would be dead and wounded as collateral damage?

I for one will no longer attend public hearings in the State House because of fear for my own safety. With a free pass for anyone to have a concealed weapon in the State House (including people like Jared Loughner), I view it as the most dangerous daylight location in New Hampshire (perhaps only surpassed by the summit of Mt. Washington).

Tom Duston
Chesterfield, N.H.