The following is a letter penned by New Hampshire State Representative JR Hoell addressed to the House Judiciary Committee. The letter is in response to the way Tommy Mozingo and I were treated as we attempted to point out that the University System of New Hampshire was violating the law by maintaining regulations which forbid the peaceful carrying of firearms and knives.
I’ve spoken to several elected officials and Rep. Hoell isn’t the only one who feels this way. Elected state officials will be present at our hearing today in the Grafton County Superior Court at 2:30PM to see how Judge Vaughn respects the state constitution as well as legislative authority.
A big thank you to Rep. Hoell for taking the time to write, publicize, and take on this issue!
Rep. JR Hoell
Merrimack 13, Bow/Dunbarton
Honerable Members of the House Judiciary Committee
RE: USNH v. Bradley Jardis and Tommy Mozingo and LSR 2012-H-2675-R
Dear Chairman and Members of the House Judiciary Committee,
This past week there was a pre-planned demonstration on the campus of Plymouth State University regarding the ability of the University System of New Hampshire to regulate firearms. The individuals that were involved had properly notified the administrations of USNH, PSU and the local authorities that they would be attending the campus for a peaceful event to explain that the administrative rules in place are a clear violation of the current statute. The State Statute that the university was violating was [RSA 159:26 State Jurisdiction] These citizens were explicit in their letter to the administration that the individuals attending this event would be peaceful and cordial and that there would be “… absolutely no threat to the safety of the public or any government official.” After this press release, USNH asked for and obtained a “Temporary Restraining Order” that appears to have significant overreach. It is this order that is my concern:
Our system of government is based on following laws and reasonable interpretation of those laws. In this case, it appears that the the judge misinterpreted the statute and then went on to write a broadly drafted restraining order. Having judges act in this manner is continuing to necessitate the need for legislative constraint of their authority and that may be addressed when this committee hears LSR 2012-H-2675-R.
Specific issues at hand in this case:
USNH claimed that the university system is not subject the the regulations of RSA 159:26 and that their broad authority as detailed in 187-A:16 gives them the authority to make these rules.
Although there is a general authority granted to the University system, the specific prohibition against political subdivisions regulating firearms would still hold true. The specific clause taking precedence over the general authority grant issued to the university system. Lastly, as documented below, USNH is a political subdivision and all political subdivisions are under the jurisdiction of this specific statute.
Furthermore, the Temporary Restraining Order goes on to make “Any person found to be in violation of the USNH Weapons, Firearms and Explosives policy after receiving notice of the Temporary Restraining Order shall be in contempt of the Court and subject to arrest for said contempt.” Does this apply to any individual that were to show up on campus, carrying a prohibited item, on 2011.12.9 that read about this demonstration in the news paper?
While the court has authority to adjudicate between parties, it is my belief, that this authority is limited to the specific parties involved and that the court lacks the authority to issue rulings that effect non-interested 3rd parties. and that general statements like the one made above are a clear abuse of the authority.
Lastly, the TRO requires that the citizens effected by this TRO post this information on a specific website. Although I understand that there is a precedence for requiring notification to the parties involved in the case, it appears that this requirement has passed beyond typical notification and that again this is the court overreaching beyond the authority granted to them in the New Hampshire Constitution.
I ask that when the House Judiciary Committee takes up hearings on bills this year, that they strongly consider the consistent overreaching of the Judicial Branch and work to create a Statute that limits their abuse of office.
As stated in our statutes, the public universities were created by RSA 187-A:1, which reads: “The university system of New Hampshire is established and made a body politic and corporate,..”, and then goes on to explain why the universities were created, which is: to “…provide a well coordinated system of public higher education offering liberal undergraduate education”.
The university then being defined as a body with a specific function of government is clearly within the bounds of the legal definition as documented in Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th Edition. “Political subdivision: A division of a state that exists primarily to discharge some function of local government.” Furthermore, in University System of New Hampshire v. U.S. Gypsum 756 F.Supp. 640 (1991), USNH claims to be a “…political subdivision of the state”.
Having established that USNH is a political subdivision, they are therefore regulated by the specific section of the statutes controlling firearms. (RSA159:26).