Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Time Has Come to Put an End to the NH Gun Line - Granite Grok

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Time Has Come to Put an End to the NH Gun Line

NH senate_chamber

On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, the Senate Finance Committee heard SB141. To determine the new fiscal1 note as appropriate or a last-minute attempt to stop the policy adopted by the Senate to eliminate the need for firearms dealers to call the NH gun line when selling a pistol or revolver.

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The end result of which is that all handguns via a NICs check are required to go through a double background check – state and federal.

The meeting revealed more than we had known about the lack of ethics involved in record keeping. Let me explain.

The courts prohibit those with domestic violence petitions-pending from getting a handgun.  The problem is they issue petitions by name only and do not follow through with date of birth, which means anyone with the same name would become a prohibited person until, and if, the courts get the actual date of birth to be added to the prohibition. We were told there are 40 – 60 of those a week so, if you share a name, you could be a prohibited person and not even know it.

Commissioner Quinn explained that prohibited people could be hidden in NH databases.  Such events as driving under the influence of alcohol is not a prohibiting event; however, driving under the influence of a prohibited drug does make you a prohibited person.  The Commissioner noted the NH Gun Line has access to databases “not available to others.”

The only databases I could think of would be the pharmacy database and the medical marijuana database, both instituted with a promise of privacy, but the hearing was closed to the public, so I couldn’t ask.  We know that pharmacy privacy has been violated, and we can easily assume the marijuana database is also available to the gun line.

The court was represented by Attorney Richard Head, who explained that the court does issue orders without full information and stated that that is one of the reasons they do not support SB141.  The court would not be allowed to enter a name without full information to NCIC or NICs like they can to the gun line.

Currently, the court relies on the Department of Safety gun line to find the “unintended consequences” to which the court will then “devote” a person to remedy the “mistake ” made against an innocent person with the same name as the person the court issued the petition against.

While that would be enough to make people nervous, it wasn’t the end2.

We learned there are 178,000 cases with no disposition.  That means people who came before the court and had charges dropped were found innocent, or it was a clear case of mistaken identity, their case still sits without a verdict or decision, the end result of which is that the record or event turns up as an open issue against that person.

If that person has a background check done for a job, he or she could lose it based on the open record, and they would never know why.  Or, worse, your name could turn up on a case with no DOB, and the firm you seek to be a part of has a tough policy on domestic violence.

The court again stated they rely on the gun line to report these issues so the court can send someone to see if they can find the verdict, or the state police can call local police chiefs for information to fill in. The court stated it would be too costly to take the records and finalize the events themselves.

Feeling safer with a state gun line now?

To summarize the finance meeting, we found out:

Some 40-60 people a week get court orders without a date of birth, meaning the gun line says all people of that name are prohibited from purchasing a firearm until they prove they are not (guilty until proven innocent).

We learned the Court has 178,000 cases that appear to be open, and they could affect people’s future, and those people don’t even know it.

The Court finds that addressing the open cases is too expensive.

The Court does not want to end the gun line because the Court would then need to have full information on the person they are serving the petition on, and they prefer to hand-off half done, half-accurate information to the Gun Line and let the chips fall where they may

We found out the Gun Line is a fraudulent method to hide the inefficiencies and inabilities of the court system.  The system isn’t run well enough to have a lot of its information accepted into the federal system. How does that make you feel?

Ever wonder why a job offer was withdrawn or not made after signing off on a background check?  If they ban everyone with the name of one person because they don’t do their job to positively identify, how does it make you feel?

The gun line was never intended to last longer than the time it took to bring the NICs system up to par.  And it was NEVER intended to hide the court’s misdeeds.

Double background checks, a system that allows for people to appear to be the accused because it is too difficult to properly identify someone, and 178,000 cases without official disposition.

We don’t need double background checks, and we don’t want a Gun Line so the courts can hide their incompetence at the expense of innocent people who have no idea they are one of the “accused.”



SB 141 Judicial Branch Fiscal Note Updated (firearm background checks)