There was a touch of déjà vu surrounding the proceedings of the New Hampshire Legislature’s first day in session this week. But it was more than the biennial formalities of legislators signing up for mileage reimbursements and getting new license plates. No, for the second session in a row, freshman and veteran House lawmakers spent a hefty part of their first official business day of the year debating whether guns should be allowed in the House gallery and chamber.
After November’s election drastically shook up the membership of the 400-member body — going from a GOP-led super-majority to a majority of Democrats — lawmakers voted 196-153 along partisan lines Wednesday to reinstate the House gun ban that had been repealed in early 2011. The vote came after more than two hours of debate, and in the context of a national discussion about gun control following the massacre last month of 20 children and six educators in a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.