Home Rule – No Go!



            CACR 19 – FN is a proposed amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution that purports to give the people the right to govern by enacting local laws that protect health, safety, and welfare.  Sounds good – right?  Why oppose self-governance?  Keep reading!

It actually does not provide you, the individual, with self-governance.  In fact, it empowers your local county, municipality, town, or city government, under the guise of protecting health, safety, and welfare, to enact local laws recognizing or establishing your rights of a natural person, the rights of your community and the rights of nature.  It also further expands the local government’s proposed given power to secure those rights by using prohibitions and other necessary means, including measures to establish, define, alter, or eliminate competing rights, powers, privileges, immunities, or duties of corporations and other business entities operating, or seeking to operate, in the community.

Rights are unalienable!  They are not gifted by any Constitution, law, government or community.  They are incapable of being alienated, surrendered or transferred.  Yet, this Constitutional amendment seeks to change all that by presupposing that local governments should be tantamount to fiefdoms with their own set of laws and lords to rule upon them creating a need for travelers to carry a legislative roadmap to navigate the patchwork landscape of local rule.  While the proposed Constitutional amendment claims to enable local government to secure those rights, it does so through prohibition and other necessary means.  Exactly what is “other necessary means”?  Public shaming?  Stockades?  Banishment?

This Constitutional amendment further enables the local governmental body to establish, define, alter or eliminate competing rights while simultaneously creating competition to our unalienable rights by establishing rights for the community and nature.  While the Constitutional amendment specifically states that local laws cannot weaken or constrict our fundamental rights, it likewise specifies the same protections for the rights to be given to the community and nature.  The take away is that our unalienable rights are to be on equal footing with the rights given to nature and the community.

Communal rights are not a foreign concept.  The problem is that when communal rights are pitted against individual rights, it has never faired well for the individual – calling to mind the Salem witch trials.  Another example is when the community is given the right to quiet enjoyment of all property within the town.  Shooting is loud.  Now your right to bear arms is in competition with the communal right to quiet enjoyment.  The governmental body can enact a law prohibiting shooting within the fiefdom including upon the land you own, but perhaps you won’t be burned at the stake, assuming your right against cruel and unusual punishment remains intact.

Nature having rights, that is new.  This creates a problem when, by way of example, the local governmental body establishes that all fish and game have a right to life.  Since the governmental body can alter or eliminate competing rights – hunting and fishing could be outlawed and perhaps you will be convicted of murdering that Thanksgiving turkey or the Christmas ham.  Or maybe that pesky deer who eats your arborvitaes will be given the right to the pursuit of happiness and you must let him feast away at your expense, depending on the will of your fiefdom, but then you can just move elsewhere and not have such concerns.  However, your decision of where to live would no longer be limited by taxes alone, you would have to consider the local laws as well.

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it and it appears the sponsors of this bill know nothing of the dark ages.  However, this Constitutional amendment is correct in stating that all government of right originates from the people and is founded in their consent.  Do not consent.  Reach out to your Senators and Representatives to stop it before it reaches the ballot box.


Mitchell Kopacz
Gun Owners of New Hampshire