NO ’SOFT TAR­GET’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

On Jan. 2, the Demo­cratic-con­trolled House in the state of New Hamp­shire voted to ban all firearms and “deadly weapons” from the premises of their 200-yearold state­house in a move now known as “Rule 63.” State law­mak­ers now must sur­ren­der their weapons to se­cu­rity per­son­nel — or risk ejec­tion and even ar­rest. Eight Repub­li­cans who say they have re­ceive death threats are vow­ing to dis­obey the rule, and have de­nounced it as un­con­sti­tu­tional and il­le­git­i­mate in an open let­ter pub­lished by the Con­cord Mon­i­tor.

“Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, the New Hamp­shire House will not be a gun-free zone. Any vi­o­lent ex­trem­ist who thinks that we’ve be­come a soft tar­get needs to re­assess the sit­u­a­tion,” writes Rep. Jess Ed­wards, a Repub­li­can from Auburn, on be­half of seven GOP peers.

“Our right to self-de­fense can­not be in­fringed by any govern­ment body. Due to our will­ing­ness to ex­er­cise our con­sti­tu­tional rights and be­cause any at­tempt to dis­arm House mem­bers is fool­ish pub­lic pol­icy, we reserve the right to refuse to com­ply. We are not talk­ing about an imag­i­nary threat,” he con­tin­ued, cit­ing the grave wound­ing of House Mi­nor­ity Whip Steve Scalise and adding that ter­ror­ists “seek out high-value, soft tar­gets to achieve max­i­mum po­lit­i­cal ef­fect.”

Mr. Ed­wards also cited the “civil disobe­di­ence” of Henry David Thoreau as a ra­tio­nale, among other his­tor­i­cal mo­ments.

“We view Rule 63 as il­le­git­i­mate. We view Rule 63 as hav­ing the per­verse ef­fect of in­creas­ing the risk to ev­ery­one in the House gallery and chambers. To make this point of view more ap­proach­able for our pro­gres­sive friends, we are morally ob­li­gated to ‘re­sist.’ To any vi­o­lent ex­trem­ist with in­tent to do harm, know that the N.H. House will not be a soft tar­get,” Mr. Ed­wards warns.

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