[Posted Tuesday August 24, 2010, at 5:00 p.m.] Current New Hampshire law -- RSA 627:4 -- says that you if you are attacked in your home, you have no "duty to retreat." HB160 started out as a "castle doctrine" bill, expanding the places where you had no duty to retreat to include anywhere you had a right to be. Unfortunately, the governor had vetoed a similar bill not long ago, and it was felt that this bill also was destined for failure. Then Representative David Welch, a senior Advisor of Pro-Gun New Hampshire, submitted a successful amendment on the floor of the House to change the bill into something better: the bill now said that displaying a gun or other weapon in a self-defense situation is not a crime, if you do so to warn off an attacker. Again, anti-gun forces were pressuring the governor to veto the bill. This time, however, the governor spoke with Pro-Gun New Hampshire president Bob Clegg -- three times (!) -- and Bob's common-sense reasoning won him over. On July 23, HB160 was signed into law, effective the first of next year.
The bill inserts the following language into RSA 627:4 (Physical Force in Defense of a Person) and RSA 631:4 (Criminal Threatening): "A person who responds to a threat which would be considered by a reasonable person as likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to the person or to another by displaying a firearm or other means of self-defense with the intent to warn away the person making the threat shall not have committed a criminal act." Without this law, self-defense may put you at risk of arrest and prosecution, so this is a major change in favor of legitimate self-defense -- better than the original HB160, since the current law about "duty to retreat" makes an exception if you cannot retreat "with complete safety." Congratulations, and thanks on behalf of all lawful citizens, to Dave Welch and Bob Clegg.