When America was established, our Founders set out to change the very course of human history. For too long it had yielded to institutions of coercion and elitist oppression.
The American Revolution was an extension of a larger awakening—an awakening made possible by access to education, the means of communication, and a human spirit that demanded to be free.
The Founders sought to institute a government that existed to protect human rights, facilitate justice, and make way for prosperity. The American Dream, as it has come to be known, still exists in large part. But Americans are seeing increased abuses of power which threaten that dream as our government grows.
One of the greatest threats to freedom comes directly from the federal government itself. With countless (and unconstitutional) executive orders, runaway congressional spending, and predatory federal agencies, we have seen sweeping violations of individual rights and state sovereignty.
But there is good news to report, too. Pushing back against federal overreach, New Hampshire has emerged as a beacon of liberty. This year, Young Americans for Liberty’s (YAL) Hazlitt Coalition in the Granite State—61 legislators strong—worked to pass a variety of bills to make 1.3 million people more free. Their dedication has brought tangible results, illuminating a path toward true liberty in our lifetime.
To combat COVID-19 tyranny, New Hampshire has passed bills to limit emergency powers (HB 187), forbid school vaccine mandates (HB 1035), ban vaccine passports (HB 1495), protect hospital visitation (HB 1439), and ensure parental consent for medical treatment in schools (HB1244). Add to that list several bills to secure religious freedom and civil liberties, even when an emergency has been declared by the governor (HB 440). Combined, New Hampshire’s package of liberty legislation sends a clear message: Never again!
Since 2017, New Hampshire has been a Constitutional Carry state, but due to a little-known provision, it was still illegal to carry a loaded firearm on a snowmobile. With leadership from Rep. John Burt, that law has been corrected and the citizens of New Hampshire are now free to move about the mountains fully armed (HB 1636).
More significantly, Rep. Burt’s HB 1178 effectively rejects federal gun control, asserting that state and local law enforcement will not cooperate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) or any other agencies seeking to violate the Second Amendment. That kind of policy is an important step, with the state moving to nullify federal efforts to disarm citizens.
As noted by the Tenth Amendment Center, “The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations, and acts, including gun control. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states and localities can nullify many federal actions in effect.”
What are the real-world implications of the bill? Earlier this year, the White House announced a new rule that would ban “ghost gun” build kits, which allow the creation of firearms without serial numbers. Under HB 1178, state and local officials are forbidden from helping the federal government enforce this new, unconstitutional rule. Additionally, New Hampshire does not currently prohibit owning machine guns. If the ATF wants to enforce federal rules, prohibiting the possession of newly-manufactured machine guns, the agency will be responsible for doing so without assistance from state or local law enforcement.
New Hampshire is also looking inward, working to advance criminal justice reform and government accountability. Lawmakers have banned the profiling of motorcycle club members (HB 1000) and instituted asset forfeiture accountability (HB 1493). Legislation passed this year requires informed consent for vehicle searches (SB 40), while funding body and dashboard cameras for law enforcement (SB 401).
To protect some of the most vulnerable, New Hampshire legislators have also restricted the administration of psychotropic medication to children in foster care (HB 120). All too often, these heavy-duty medications are used as “chemical restraints,” referring to the intentional use of any medication to subdue, sedate, or restrain an individual. Also worth noting are the new laws that make adoption easier for family members (HB 293), increase homestead food freedom (HB 314), and loosen restrictive rules relating to raw milk (HB 95).
Even small steps forward move us closer to a free society. And New Hampshire is taking those steps. With newly-recruited allies, the size and influence of YAL’s Hazlitt Coalition is growing, offering an opportunity to advance liberty at an even faster pace in 2023.
As our fight against government overreach goes on, New Hampshire stands out as a shining beacon to liberty-loving people across America.