A bipartisan House bill that would for the first time require New Hampshire to report some mental health records to a federal firearms background check database is up for its first Senate hearing on Tuesday.

The legislation appears to have divided even the staunchest Republican gun rights advocates in the legislature, with some warning the bill is a “red flag law” in disguise and others pointing to recent tragedies to justify its passage.

HB 1711, also known as The Chief Bradley Haas Mental Health Firearms Reporting Act, is named after the unarmed New Hampshire hospital security guard killed by a gunman in Concord last November. The legislation would “authorize the state to report mental health data for firearms background check purposes.”

Additionally, the proposal “provides for processes for the confiscation of firearms following certain mental health-related court proceedings and for relief from mental health-related firearms disabilities.”

“The bill is nothing but a gun control measure,” state Rep. JR Hoell (R-Dunbarton) told NHJournal. Hoell is a member of the board of the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, and he voted against the bill when it passed the House 204-149.

“The intent is to disarm law-abiding citizens under the guise of mental health,” Hoell told NHJournal. “Mentally ill patients aren’t criminals, and this bill uses rare exceptions to create a process that could be used to disarm anybody.”

Another Granite State Second Amendment organization, the Women’s Defense League, has issued an alert to its members to oppose the bill, calling it “one of the most draconian gun control bills that has ever been pushed by a Republican in the history of New Hampshire.” [Emphasis in original]. “A huge ‘red flag’ is that this bill is co-sponsored by one of the biggest gun control pushers in the legislature, Rep. David Meuse (D-Portsmouth).”

While 25 Republicans voted for the legislation, one of the bill’s chief sponsors — embattled state Rep. Jon Stone (R-Claremont) – actually voted against it.

Recently released documents show Stone, a former police officer, was dismissed from his job in 2006 amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl. While under scrutiny over those allegations, Stone threatened to kill fellow police officers, murder his chief, and rape the chief’s wife and children.

Just prior to voting “no” on his own legislation, the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition sent several mailers opposing the bill to voters in Stone’s district.

Stone did not respond to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, one Republican who voted in favor, state Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Windham), told NHJournal fears that it’s a “red flag” gun law are unfounded. He pointed out that federal law already bars individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility from buying or possessing guns. The legislation in question, according to Lynn, brings New Hampshire into compliance with federal law.

“I’ve testified against most anti-gun bills, but I think this one is different,” Lynn said, adding that he’s been a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association since he was 14 years old.

Lynn said the proposed law was carefully written to ensure that Granite State judges would not have sole discretion over whether or not individuals will be allowed to legally possess a gun.

“In this case, the judge’s responsibility is determining whether or not an individual’s mental health requires institutionalization, not whether they have the right to have a gun,” Lynn said. “There are a lot of judges I know of who don’t think the Second Amendment is very important, but most judges – even if they hate guns – they’re not going to have someone institutionalized against their will just to take away their right to carry.”

Lynn served as a chief justice for the New Hampshire Supreme Court. He added there are some minor “tweaks” he’d like to see the Senate make, including replacing the word “may” with “shall” when it comes to one of the bill’s provisions allowing individuals to petition the court to return their gun after their mental health status improves.

Rep. Terry Roy (R-Deerfield), another lead sponsor, insisted the bill doesn’t take away a citizen’s right to carry.

“So in my mind, a ‘red flag law’ takes away firearms rights from someone who already possesses firearms rights,” Roy told NHJournal. “This doesn’t take them away, but the moment that person is committed to a psychiatric institution — under federal law, they’re prohibited from carrying. This just recognizes what’s already occurred.”

Roy referenced the mass shooting that occurred in Lewiston, Maine, about a month before Haas was gunned down in New Hampshire. The shooter, Robert Card, had a documented history of mental health issues and once shared with police his intention of “shooting up” a nearby military base. No actions were taken and Card went on to kill 18 people and wound 13 others.

According to New Hampshire State Police, Haas’s killer was once a psychiatric patient at the same hospital where Haas worked.

Asked what he’d tell his GOP colleagues and Second Amendment rights activists who are opposed to the bill, Roy’s answer was blunt.

“I’d ask them, ‘What are you suggesting? That we allow dangerous mental health patients to carry firearms?’”

Kim Morin, president of the Women’s Defense League of New Hampshire, told NHJournal she’s not convinced.

“It’s another gun control bill, it’s confiscation, and it’s not solving the underlying issue that they claim it is,” she said. “This will not stop criminals or the mentally ill from getting a firearm and it’s especially discriminatory against lawful gun owners.”

Morin said the real issue is making sure that mentally ill persons receive the right treatment.

“Stop juicing people up on psychotropic drugs,” she added. “This is an emotionally-driven bill based on a tragedy involving an unarmed security guard who wasn’t able to defend himself, and something like that has never before happened in our state.”

Asked what she’d tell lawmakers like Roy who support the bill, Morin likewise didn’t mince words.

“You take an oath when you are elected to office to uphold the constitution,” she said. “What’s going on here is the exact opposite.”

Both Roy and Morin are slated to testify on the bill during Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.