Warrant Article 17 will be heard and voted on Saturday March 14th at the Town Meeting – Hollis Brookline High School – beginning at 10AM
Our Town has a long history dating back to our founding that supports the second amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. Hollis Minuteman were a part of that heritage as early as 1774. Proposed Warrant Article 17 states:
ARTICLE 17 – Petition Article for Proposing Bylaw To see if the Town, in accordance with NH RSA 31 :39, will adopt the following bylaw: “The discharge of any firearm on Town-owned land other than during the course of lawful hunting shall be prohibited. This prohibition includes (but is not limited to) target shooting, gun siting, recreational shooting, or shooting competitions”.
This Warrant does not have a legal basis to be executed and therein lies the problem:
Key issues are:
- New Hampshire IS NOT a ‘Home Rule” state (Girard v. Allenstown, 1981) and therefore, the Legislature has reserved the sole authority to regulate both Firearms and their “use” and places for use (RSA 159:26, 2003, 2011). The NH Supreme Court (State v. Jenkins, 1960) and State Law has “Pre-empted the Field” and prohibited towns from making laws that conflict with State RSAs. Thus any proposed law (e.g., Article 17) by a town that is in conflict with the RSAs is “null and void”.
- Some folks have quoted RSAs 31:39 (2010) and 644:13 (2009) as supporting Article 17. Rather, RSA 31:39 is completely SILENT and never mentions “firearms”, “discharge of firearms” “shooting practice”, “Conservation Lands”, etc.
- Further, RSA 644:13 is very specific in only mentioning the “Compact Area” (read “village”) “by Written Permission” (read: Including “Cannons” and “Firearm”/s, with written permission on Memorial Day, Fourth of July celebrations and the like). Claiming they are relevant is significant leap not supported by fact.
- In a variety of US Supreme Court Cases (DC v. Heller, 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago, 2010) the Supreme Court has upheld these Rights including the right to target shooting with firearms: The US Supreme Court said, “…learning to handle and use them (firearms) in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use…”.
No matter how well intentioned, Warrant 17 is not built on a strong legal foundation. If passed, this will likely lead the Town down a path where significant Taxpayer Dollars would be required to defend the Town against a future legal challenge on this point.
On Hollis Town Meeting Day, Saturday, March 14th, 2020, Please Vote “NO” on Article 17
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