- Associated Press - Sunday, February 9, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire’s House will be voting on whether to require background checks for gun sales and transfers - whether at gun shows or after seeing an advertisement elsewhere.

Most private sellers would be required to conduct background checks through federally licensed dealers, using a system already in place for dealer sales. Breaking the law would draw a misdemeanor charge. An exception would be made for noncommercial private sales between individuals not prohibited by federal law from buying a gun.

Federal law bars gun purchases by people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility and those declared mentally ill by a judge. It also prohibits gun sales to felons, fugitives, drug addicts, people under domestic violence retraining orders and those convicted of certain misdemeanor domestic violence crimes.

More than 30 states report names of people judged mentally ill to the government, but New Hampshire is not one of them. The legislation would only alert a dealer if someone was in the federal background check system due to a report from another state.

In her state-of-the-state address, Gov. Maggie Hassan said New Hampshire should follow the federal law and report the names of people adjudicated mentally ill. A Senate bill that proposed requiring the reports may instead call for a study of the issue.

Gun control measures face opposition in the Granite State, which has a history of protecting gun owner rights.

Supporters argue background checks have proven to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

But critics say criminals would simply sidestep the law to get guns.

The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday.


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