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New Hampshire Senate rejects legalization of slingshots and metal knuckles: 'Times have changed'

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Senate voted Thursday against a bill that would have lifted the ban on blackjacks, slingshots and metal knuckles, again rejecting the House's vote to pass it.

This is the second year in a row that the House has passed a bill to loosen the ban on the sale or possession of these items, and it is also the second year in a row that the effort has failed in the Senate.

House Bill 1276 would have lifted the ban for everyone except those under 18. Additionally, selling the items to anyone under the age of 18 would be illegal. It was a more limited version than last year's bill, which would have lifted the ban entirely. Rep. James Spillane, R-Deerfield, sponsored the legislation both years.

Sen. Bill Gannon, R-Sandown, said that while the Senate had considered the changes, repealing the law was “worthy of further discussion and consideration,” which is why they referred it to an interim study.

"These weapons result in a fist fight becoming an unacceptable life or death situation." New Hampshire state Sen. Bill Gannon, R-Sandown, said of House Bill 1276, which would have lifted the ban on blackjacks, slings and metal knuckles.  The Senate rejected the bill on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

“These weapons unacceptably turn a fistfight into a life-or-death situation,” New Hampshire state Sen. Bill Gannon, R-Sandown, said of House Bill 1276, which would ban blackjacks , slingshots and metal knuckles. The Senate rejected the bill on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

“Times have changed. Social norms no longer accept these weapons in a civilized society,” Gannon said. “These weapons cause a fist fight to become an unacceptably life-threatening situation.”

More: NH Senate President Jeb Bradley will not run again in 2024, says he is at a crossroads.

A slingshot is different from a slingshot: it is a weight attached to the end of a hand string. A blackjack is a weighted leather bag or stick, usually 8 to 12 inches long, that can be hidden in a pocket. Brass knuckles are ring-shaped metal weapons that can be worn around the knuckle.

The motion to refer to an interim study was approved by voice vote.

This article originally appeared in the Portsmouth Herald: New Hampshire Senate rejects legalization of slingshots and metal knuckles

Anna Harden

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