, Derry, New Hampshire

January 3, 2013

Editorial: Have they nothing better to do?

Derry News

---- — When Republicans took control of the New Hampshire Legislature in 2010, among their first priorities was the rescinding of a ban on guns in the Statehouse.

Now that Democrats have taken back control of the New Hampshire House, they want to reinstate the ban.

As the debate over weapons in the Statehouse begins anew, New Hampshire residents should be up in arms over the shallowness of those they have elected to represent them.

There was little point to the Republicans’ attack on the Statehouse gun ban in 2010 and we opposed it. Passions can run high in the legislative arena; a legislator should be armed with a quick wit and a sharp argument, not a gun.

But the Democrats’ insistence that the ban must be restored is just as silly. Nearly two years have passed since the ban was rescinded. Have we missed reports of gunfights on the Statehouse floor?

Newly elected Rep. Mary Till, D-Derry, supports reinstating the ban.

“I don’t see how the presence of weapons on the House floor is going to help us work through differences respectfully,” she told reporter Doug Ireland.

Other lawmakers said they believe the ban spearheaded by Democrats is politically motivated, and a threat to safety and constitutional rights.

“I think it’s feel-good legislation and an attack on Second Amendment rights,” said Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry. “I think (Democrats) should be worrying about jobs and the economy.”

Baldasaro, a retired Marine sergeant, said lawmakers have a right to protect themselves while at the Statehouse.

Baldasaro and Rep. Kenneth Weyler, R-Kingston, expressed concern for lawmakers’ personal safety, especially while leaving the Statehouse at night to walk to a nearby parking garage.

There also is limited security at the Statehouse, where Baldasaro said only a couple of state troopers are allowed to carry guns.

The Republicans demonstrated their lack of seriousness in 2010 by focusing on this trivial matter at the height of a recession. Now, the newly empowered Democrats are doing the same.

Is it too much to ask of New Hampshire legislators, of either party, that they focus on improving the governance of the state for the benefit of New Hampshire citizens, rather than engaging in this self-serving grandstanding in a vain attempt to demonstrate their supposed moral superiority over their political opponents?

Really. Are there no matters more pressing in New Hampshire on which legislators should be spending their time?