Allowing law-abiding people to carry firearms, concealed or openly is a good thing. This is evidenced by the low crime rates in all three northern New England states. Two of those states, Maine and Vermont, allow law abiding persons to carry concealed firearms without a government issued permit or license. Vermont has done so for close to 200 years. New Hampshire is the lone holdout in adopting a Constitutional Carry law that will allow law-abiding people to carry a concealed self-defense firearm without a license.

Thursday, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will have the opportunity to change this by voting yes on SB 12. Repealing the ban on carrying pistols or revolvers without a license should be an easy vote.

Anti-gun activists from New York City have ascended on New Hampshire and are attempting to not only stop the passage of SB 12, but to also enact New York-style gun control in New Hampshire. These out-of-state meddlers need to be told that New Hampshire and our freedoms are not for sale.

Criminals prefer unarmed victims. Concealed carry works because the gun is concealed and a criminal does not know if his potential victim is able to fight back.

The right to own, carry and use firearms for self defense is a constitutionally protected civil right and should not end when a person puts on a coat. The founders did not contemplate citizens groveling to public officials to exercise that right. That’s a 20th-century creation.

One should note, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the police have no duty to protect average citizens and cannot be held responsible for failure to prevent a violent crime. Armed self defense by law-abiding people has been proven to work; this is the best option that law-abiding citizens have for self defense. Here are some examples:

In July of 2014, a doctor prevented a mass shooting at a hospital in Darby, Pa., when he used his concealed firearm to stop a gunman (who ignored the hospital’s gun free zone policy.) Police said that had it not been for the armed doctor, the criminal would have gone “out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition.”

A few years ago, in Osceola County, Fla., a pastor prevented a possible mass shooting at his church — and saved the lives of several people when he used his firearm to stop a shooter.

We trust our fellow citizens to follow the law and behave responsibly. If, however, someone commits a crime while carrying a concealed firearm, there are many statutes that provide for prosecution and, if convicted, incarceration. We do not, in any way, object to the arrest and prosecution of real criminals. However, the mere act of carrying a firearm, concealed or otherwise, should not be a crime. What we strongly object to is the practice of making otherwise law-abiding people ask government bureaucrats for permission to carry a concealed self- defense firearm.

We have seen far too many cases of these so called “issuing authorities,” bureaucrats, abusing their authority and denying licenses to people who are legally allowed to own and use firearms. People who do not have a felony conviction on their record have been denied.

When this happens the person who was denied their right to carry must appeal the denial in court. This is a costly and slow process. This is not the way things should be. The law-abiding should not be treated as presumptive criminals. SB 12, will, at once, put a stop to these abuses.

Currently, the New Hampshire Pistol — Revolver license is recognized by 27 other states under reciprocity provisions of those state’s laws. The sponsors of SB 12 have wisely left the licensing provisions of the law in place. However, since other provisions of law are being repealed, the license becomes optional. It remains in place for the sole purpose of reciprocal carry in other states.

SB 12 is supported by most firearms advocacy organizations. The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition requests that legislators support SB 12 Thursday, and send the bill to Gov. Chris Sununu to be signed into law.

Alan Rice is vice president of the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition. Rep. J.R. Hoell is the corporate secretary.