Activist “not suitable” for a firearms licence because he engaged in civil disobedience
By Derrick J Freeman @ Free Keene
New Hampshire is a great place for firearms owners. No permits are required to carry openly, and residents can sell their guns to one another without any government paperwork. Acquiring a concealed carry license is as simple as filling out a one-page form and paying a $10 fee. Or so I thought…
When I applied for a Pistol Permit in New Hampshire this July, I was shocked to learn that I could be denied my rights simply for exercising them. Can you lose your second amendment for using the first?
The State argues that I am not “suitable” for a license because I commit civil disobedience. In his denial letter, Keene Police Chief Ken Meola wrote, “you have had several contacts with the police for assaultive or threatening behavior,” equating peaceful noncompliance to violence. It’s true that I have openly violated bad laws, but that does not mean I am violent.
I hired an attorney and challenged the denial, but Judge Burke agreed with the State, writing in his decision,
“the petitioner has demonstrated, time and again, that he has little or no respect for law enforcement officials. This lack of respect does not, per se, render the defendant unsuitable; no one can mandate that respect. The petitioner’s record does show, however, that he manifests that lack of respect by repeatedly placing himself in situations where the authority of the police is challenged. … The petitioner’s testimony made it clear that he is committed to acting in similar fashion in the future. Under these circumstances, the court finds that the petitioner is unsuitable to possess a concealed weapon.”
Besides the fact that he has an infamous bias against Keene activists, Judge Burke refused my motion to recuse him from presiding over this hearing.
When I decided to take on this challenge, I shelled out $2500 of my own money to retain the attorney. Through your generosity, I have been able to recoup about half of those costs with a GoFundMe page and a bitcoin widget. I am amazed at your generosity in supporting this effort, and I want to thank all of you who donated to make it possible to get to this point.
But where to go from here?
On Free Talk Live, I announced that I was considering taking this to the NH Supreme Court. I set up another fundraiser and asked you to donate to show your support. So far, 13 of you donated more than $500 in cash and bitcoin. That’s over 20% of the total legal expenses in just 2 weeks! Thanks to your outpouring of generosity, I am glad to announce that I will put up the rest of the cost, $3000 of my personal money, in order to move this to the next level.
I am fortunate to manage a thrift store in Keene, but it will take a long time to replenish this savings. If you believe in preserving gun rights in the “Live Free Or Die” state, please donate today. The average contribution is $25. Learn more and donate in cash or bitcoin at http://derrickj.me/cc . By donating today, you are sharing in this future victory! Thank you.