Dozens of law enforcement officials from across New Hampshire today called on the legislature to uphold Governor John Lynch's veto of a bill that would allow for the inappropriate use of deadly force in New Hampshire's neighborhoods.
"I listened to the brave men and women who patrol our streets and our neighborhoods, who work to put criminals behind bars, and I came to the same conclusion that they did: Senate Bill 88 is dangerous, it is reckless and it is wrong for public safety and it is wrong for New Hampshire," Governor Lynch said.
"This debate should not be about political wins or losses inside the State House. It is about public safety," Governor Lynch said. "And it should not be about a political ideology. The only ideology of law enforcement is keeping us safe, and law enforcement from across the state and at all levels oppose this bill, because they say it will make our communities more dangerous."
Law-abiding citizens already have the right to stand their ground and defend themselves in their homes, regardless of whether an intruder uses deadly force. Current law also protects the right to self-defense on the streets - or anywhere else - to protect oneself, and others, in response to the use of deadly force.
Supporters of the SB 88 have not been able to identify a single case in New Hampshire where someone has been wrongly prosecuted for using deadly force to protect themselves or others. In fact, current law puts the burden on the state to disprove beyond reasonable doubt claims of self-defense.
"Instead, this bill will empower gangs and criminals. Senate Bill 88 is reckless because it will give a new defense to gang members and other criminals who open fire on each other in our neighborhoods - even if they kill an innocent bystander," Governor Lynch said.
Law enforcement, including the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police, the New Hampshire Sheriffs Association, the New Hampshire Police Association and the New Hampshire Troopers Association, all strongly urged Governor Lynch to veto the bill and said if the bill becomes law it would potentially increase violence in public places and make it harder to prosecute criminals.
"When it comes to public safety, we should trust the people of law enforcement," Governor Lynch said.
The legislature has scheduled a vote to override Governor Lynch's veto for Wednesday, September 7, 2011.