On January 10, 1923, NH’s more than 450,000 residents enjoyed equally the right to defend themselves, their families, their property and the state. By May of that year, 91,000 found themselves criminalized and statutorily stripped of those rights. But New Hampshire is the “Live Free or Die” state. How could that happen?
In 1922, more than 17,000 people were employed at the Amoskeag Mills in Manchester, the state’s largest enterprise and once the world’s largest cotton textile mill. Many had been recruited from overseas.
In fact, legal immigration to New Hampshire between 1880 and 1920 more than doubled from 46,284 to 91,397. In each of the years leading up to 1923, these foreign-born, legal residents enjoyed the same right of self-defense as any native-born New Hampshire citizen.
However, following the end of War World I, the falling demand for and growing competition to Amoskeag’s products started the mills’ slow decline. Despite good faith negotiations with Amoskeag’s Boston-based owners, on February 22, 1922, Amoskeag announced that pay would be reduced by 20 percent while hours increased from 48 to 54 hours per week. A nine-month strike ensued, but the 12,000 striking workers were eventually brought to heel in November of 1922.
On January 11 of 1923, Representative Cobliegh of Nashua introduced HB 26, “An act to control the possession, sale and use of pistols and revolvers” which, once enacted, disarmed and criminalized not just the foreign-born Amoskeag workers but 100% of the more than 91,000 “foreign-born, unnaturalized” people living in NH.
In order for the new law to be palatable to NH natives, Brown and his pals decreed that native-born citizens would simply have to apply to local law enforcement and, once being found “suitable” by same, would receive a “license” to carry a loaded firearm discreetly. However, nowhere in the statute is a definition of the term “suitable” and today, 94 years later, “suitable” can be, and is, defined capriciously and arbitrarily by as many as 200 different law enforcement officers.
Imagine, if you will, your parents or grandparents or great-grandparents having the right to defend themselves and their families on January 10, 1923, only to be disarmed by May on the basis of their heritage while watching their native-born neighbors get a wink-wink, nudge-nudge and a license by local law enforcement?
But but but “Public Safety” scream NH Progressives, Dems, and Lefties. But but but crazy people! But but but the mentally ill! Surely, only local law enforcement can see into the hearts and minds of men to determine who might rise up and begin to murder innocent people in the beds!
But but but tourists will shun New Hampshire if rights are restored to law-abiding citizens! But but but blood will run in the streets! But but but criminals will be carrying loaded firearms concealed on their persons! But but but, as one former NH Democrat Senator, said, people will die in gunfights over parking spaces!
But but but the truth is that less than 100 years ago, a Democrat governor decided to punish 91,000 people by disarming them, thinking it would teach a lesson to the 12,000 uppity ethnic minorities who walked out on Amoskeag. I’ve often wondered how, if private sector unions knew about this, could they support the current crop of NH Democrats demanding the state-sanctioned remain in place?
The truth is, this is not about firearms. This is about the state of New Hampshire upholding a law meant to punish you based on the national origin of your DNA, the number of your chromosomes, your work affiliation or, at its blackest and ugliest, simple disdain felt for you by someone who swore to uphold your constitutional and human rights.
But here in NH, Progressives, Democrats and Lefties increasingly seem to use “public safety” as code words for “people we do not like.” And just like the term “suitable,” “people we do not like” can mean anything they want.
In 2012, Russian Stanislav Mishin wrote “Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.”
The House Committee on Criminal Justice will have the opportunity to end this nearly a century of state-sanctioned discrimination, Wednesday, February 1. when the hearing on SB 12 will be held at 10 a.m. in Representatives Hall in the State House in Concord. Passed twice by both the Senate and House, Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan took her cues on continued state-sanctioned discrimination from her predecessor, Governor Brown, and vetoed it both times. Republican Governor Chris Sununu has stated he will sign it.
We will be watching.