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Pro-gun group: Adding mental health records to NH do-not-sell list ‘insane,’ ‘crazy’

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Pro-gun group: Adding mental health records to NH do-not-sell list ‘insane,’ ‘crazy’


Pro-gun rights groups have made a Second Amendment argument against a New Hampshire bill that would stop gun sales to individuals whom a court had found dangerous enough to require commitment to a psychiatric hospital. One speaker warned a House committee at a public hearing last month against limiting the “God-given” right to own a gun.

The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition is reaching out to voters with another argument that mental health advocates – and the bill’s Republican sponsor – say is derogatory: It argues that it is “crazy” and “insane” to address public safety concerns by adding individuals hospitalized in limited circumstances to a do-not-sell list, as House Bill 1711 would.

The bill was prompted by the November shooting death of state hospital security officer Bradley Hass by former patient John Madore, who was then shot and killed by a state trooper. Madore had been committed to the state hospital at least once and had his guns confiscated in 2016.

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The gun rights coalition instead argues that people hospitalized due to mental illness and dangerousness should be detained in the hospital until they are well. Upon release, it says, they should not be kept from buying a gun. 

“If these people are so violent that they need to be disarmed, why are they released at all?” reads the flyer, which was sent to some House Republicans and their constituents. On the opposite side, it says: “Crazy is as crazy does.”

Rep. Terry Roy, a Deerfield Republican who co-sponsored HB 1711 with House Democratic Rep. David Meuse of Portsmouth, received the flyer, as did his constituents. 

“It was insulting,” said Roy. “It was demeaning to anyone who has a mental illness, which a large portion of our population will at some point.” An estimated 1 in 5 people experiences a mental illness each year. Roy said that once he explained the bill to the couple of constituents who called him, “they were happy.”

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Susan Stearns, executive director of NAMI New Hampshire, responded similarly when she saw the flyer.

“It’s deliberately trying to exploit the stereotype around people with mental illness being violent and needing to be kept away from society,” she said. “Ultimately that hurts a lot of Granite Staters and perpetuates that type of stereotype and stigma.”

Stearns and Roy said the flyer also misrepresents and overlooks the bill’s intent and measured balance between public safety and respecting the civil rights of people with mental illness. Not all mental health hospitalizations would qualify someone to be added to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System. And there would be a clearly defined process for getting off the list. 

Rep. J.R. Hoell, a Dunbarton Republican and secretary of the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, interprets the bill and flyer differently. 

While the flyer does not say so, Hoell said he believes most people with mental illness are not violent and are more often the victims of violence. The use of “crazy” and “insane” was a “play on words,” he said, not intended to be insulting.

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In Hoell’s mind, the bill would wrongly criminalize mental illness by allowing the federal government to deny people who’ve never committed a crime their Second Amendment rights simply because they’ve been involuntarily hospitalized due to danger concerns. 

However, federal law already prohibits anyone committed to a psychiatric institution from buying or possessing a gun; New Hampshire, however, does not submit the relevant information to the database.

“This magic list does not solve the issue,” Hoell said, noting that upon release someone can get a gun beyond a gun store. “If you are a threat to others, you need residential care. If you don’t need residential care, you are not a threat to others. It’s A or B.” 

Meuse remembers the day Roy, who has voted against every gun safety bill Meuse has supported, asked him to co-sponsor HB 1711. The two have collaborated on bail reform legislation but never shared common ground on gun bills.

“I just remember being really surprised and then thinking to myself, ‘OK, don’t do anything to screw this up,’” Meuse said. “This is a really good thing.” 

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It will go to the full House later this month with an overwhelming 18-2 vote from the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee that it be passed. In emotional testimony, the state hospital’s associate medical director called the shooting, during which the hospital security notification system failed, “one of the worst moments of my life.” 

While eight committee Republicans joined Democrats in backing the bill, Roy knows he’ll face a fight on the House floor from Hoell, libertarians, and some in his own party.

“I’m disappointed in the shortsightedness of the Second Amendment community,” Roy said. “What they don’t seem to get is that we are better off not having dangerous people buying firearms because every time there is a mass shooting and someone has a mental health issue, there are calls for more restrictions on firearms.”

The bill would not apply to people who seek behavioral health treatment voluntarily or those who are the subject of an involuntary emergency admission petition. 

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The legislation would apply only to people who are involuntarily admitted on a non-emergency basis, after a court hearing, during which they would have legal representation. A judge would have to find them to have a mental condition that makes them dangerous to themselves or others. 

The bill allows a court to confiscate an individual’s firearms and ammunition, but the person would have more control over how those guns are taken and where they are held. 

The bill would provide a person the opportunity to petition a court for review of their “mental capacity,” a first step to being removed from the database. In some cases, they could do that within 15 days after their “absolute” discharge, meaning they are complying with treatment requirements. In other cases they must wait six months.

The Disability Rights Center-NH and NAMI NH required the bill include a process to be removed from the database. And the former persuaded the committee to limit the type of information entered into the database to protect individuals’ privacy. Even then, the Disability Rights Center-NH said it won’t support the bill because of civil rights concerns but also won’t oppose it. 

Those same civil rights concerns will lead Hoell to oppose it vehemently. 

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At best, he said, he’d support a state “patient list” of people deemed a danger to others due to a short-term mental illness. That would keep information out of federal hands, a priority, he said. He would support a legal path to regaining the right to buy and purchase a gun. 

Meuse believes there are other New Hampshire gun owners, some of them lawmakers, who will split with Hoell and back the bill. And he thinks the shooting death of Haas by an individual who was committed to a psychiatric facility and had his guns confiscated will be persuasive. 

“When you see the surveys, it’s not just Democrats and the left, (but) a lot of people who own firearms, who hunt, who basically think that we’ve just sort of reached the point where if we don’t do something, the consequences of doing nothing are going to catch up to us even faster.”

This story was originally published by the New Hampshire Bulletin.



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New Hampshire

Fraud investigators ask court to make Alexander produce business records • New Hampshire Bulletin

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Fraud investigators ask court to make Alexander produce business records • New Hampshire Bulletin


Robynne Alexander, who has until this Monday afternoon to close a $21.5 million Laconia land deal with the state, is facing a new court challenge.

Friday, the state Bureau of Securities Regulation asked the state superior court to force Alexander to comply with its January subpoena seeking records related to its investigation of her business dealings. That includes documents, communications, and investor information connected to the Laconia purchase she’s been negotiating with the state Department of Administrative Services since 2022, according to the court filing. 

Robynne Alexander

“Alexander must comply with the subpoena so that the bureau can effectuate its purpose of protecting the investing public by obtaining information it considers relevant and material to its investigation,” bureau attorney Michael Kirwin wrote in the court filing.

The bureau had given Alexander a 60-day extension, until mid-April, to provide all documents with an agreement she’d begin submitting them on a rolling basis, as she gathered them.

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In their request to the court Friday, the bureau’s attorneys told the court that the deadline had passed with Alexander producing no records.

Neither Alexander, who’s been given several extensions to finalize the Laconia deal, nor the project spokesperson, Scott Tranchemontagne, could be immediately reached for comment. This is the latest of Alexander’s numerous legal troubles.

The Bulletin’s 18-month investigation has revealed that Alexander has been sued by multiple investors since 2022, is facing her third foreclosure, and has a history of property tax liens.

Commissioner Charlie Arlinghaus of the Department of Administrative Services, whose office is overseeing the sale of the former 220-acre Laconia State School campus, has said Alexander’s private real estate projects – and the Bureau of Securities Regulation investigation – do not concern his office. His only concern, he has said, is that Alexander pay $21.5 million in cash by the end of the day Monday. 

The Bureau of Securities Regulation, which is charged with protecting investors against fraud, has declined to comment on its investigation since the Bulletin first reported the news two weeks ago.

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Its request to the court provides a bit more information about the inquiry, which began in late 2023, and how expansive it is.

The bureau is seeking business records dating back to 2018, the year Alexander relocated from California to New Hampshire and signed on investors for a 60,000-square-foot residential and commercial development on Elm Street in Manchester. 

Alexander must also produce records related to the numerous entities she’s controlled in New Hampshire, which would likely include the several real estate development businesses in her name, as well as her investors, at least four of whom sued her in superior court.

The bureau has asked the court to make Alexander produce the records within 10 days of its order and to appear for questioning 10 days after that. 

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Hundreds evacuated from historic New Hampshire theater during destructive fire

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Hundreds evacuated from historic New Hampshire theater during destructive fire


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The fire heavily damaged one closed business and Downtown Pizza. The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center suffered minor smoke damage.

Photo by Tammy Court. Courtesy of Plymouth Fire-Rescue

Hundreds were evacuated from a historic theater after a three-alarm fire blazed in downtown Plymouth, N.H. Saturday night, damaging multiple businesses before a large response contained the fire. 

Multiple buildings from 41 to 45 Main St. were aflame when Plymouth Fire-Rescue responded at 9:10 p.m. on Saturday.  Crews said the former Peppercorn Natural Food Store and Downtown Pizza, which had no occupants, were damaged by heavy fire conditions. 

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Plymouth Fire-Rescue Chief Tom Morrison said staff of the nearby Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center noticed the fire and called 911. The venue said about 450 people were evacuated from the theater, which sustained minor smoke damage.

Flying Monkey owner The Common Man said in a statement that the venue was sold out for a Foreigner and Journey tribute band Saturday night.

“We are so proud of our Flying Monkey staff who noticed the fire next door and took quick action to calmly and safely evacuate everyone from our building. They put guest and staff safety first and have our utmost respect for their heroic efforts,” CEO Vincent Vella said. “We are unbelievably lucky and happy to report that our beloved venue has survived such a devastating event.”

The Flying Monkey — built in the 1920s and revived in the 2010s — canceled a touring act performing Sunday night and will remain closed for the next few days.

Plymouth Fire-Rescue said fire containment was difficult due to the proximity and the layout of the buildings. One building had multiple ceilings, which the fire spread into, resulting in an evacuation of fire crews from the building. Morrison said in a statement that “a defensive operation ensued” to get the fire under control.

Sixteen departments assisted Plymouth — Ashland, Bristol, Campton-Thornton, Waterville Valley, Holderness, New Hampton, Bridgewater, Hebron, Center Harbor, Meredith, Tilton-Northfield, Sanbornton, Rumney, Warren, Wentworth, and Woodstock, Morrison listed.

One firefighter suffered a shoulder injury and was treated at Speare Memorial Hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Plymouth said.





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New Hampshire

Manchester Mall, NH Shooting: Police Responding To Reports Of Shots Fired

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Manchester Mall, NH Shooting: Police Responding To Reports Of Shots Fired


The Manchester Police Department conducted an investigation into an alleged shooting incident at the parking lot of the Mall of New Hampshire on Sunday evening. According to the police log available online, the report of the shooting was received around 4:50 p.m.

All people involved have left the area, according to police, and investigations are still ongoing. Yellow police tape was temporarily used to block off areas of the parking lot, but by early evening, the tape had been taken down. At the site, there was an evidence marker that indicated the existence of relevant objects for further inquiry.

As other customers have attested, there was no need for a mall evacuation despite the serious nature of the incident. According to witness testimonies, there was a single “pop” sound that sounded like a gunshot and echoed around the parking lot.

The status of potential injuries resulting from the incident remains unclear, with no official statement released by authorities regarding casualties or harm incurred. The investigation is ongoing, with law enforcement agencies diligently working to ascertain the full details surrounding the reported shooting incident at the Mall of New Hampshire.

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More information will be available soon.



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