HB1509 (2020) Detail

Relative to emergency threat protection orders for individuals at post secondary educational institutions.


HB 1509 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2020 SESSION

20-2707

08/04

 

HOUSE BILL 1509

 

AN ACT relative to emergency threat protection orders for individuals at post secondary educational institutions.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Luneau, Merr. 10; Rep. Bordenet, Ches. 5; Rep. Welch, Rock. 13; Rep. Rodd, Merr. 6; Rep. Amanda Bouldin, Hills. 12

 

COMMITTEE: Education

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes a procedure for issuing an emergency threat protection order against an individual at a post secondary educational institution, who poses an immediate risk of harm to themself or others.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

20-2707

08/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty

 

AN ACT relative to emergency threat protection orders for individuals at post secondary educational institutions.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  New Chapter; Emergency Threat Protection Orders.  Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 135-F the following new chapter:

CHAPTER 135-G

EMERGENCY THREAT PROTECTION ORDERS

135-G:1  Definitions.  In this chapter:

I.  "Concerning behaviors" means observable behaviors within the 6 months prior to the filing of the petition exhibited by the individual that, taken together, create a pattern of behavior indicative of a situation escalating towards a violent incident, including:

(a)  "Anger" meaning a display of aggressive attitude/temper inappropriate in context and more intense than previously observed in the individual's previous displays of attitude/temper.

(b)  "Change, escalation, or contextually inappropriate firearms behavior" meaning an interest in or use of firearms that appears unusual given the individual's background and experience with firearms.

(c)  "Interpersonal interactions" meaning more than the usual amount of disagreement in ongoing relationships with family, friends, or colleagues.

(d)  "Physical aggression" meaning an inappropriate use of force.

(e)  "Physical health" meaning significant changes in physical well-being beyond minor injuries and ailments that are noticeably disruptive to the individual.

(f)  "Quality of thinking or communication" meaning indications of confused or irrational thought processes.

(g)  "Risk-taking" meaning actions that show more than a usual disregard for significant negative consequences.

(h)  "School performance" meaning an appreciable decrease in academic performance or unexplained or unusual absences.

(i)  "Violent-media usage" meaning significantly more than a usual age-appropriate interest in visual or aural depictions of violence.

II.  "Concerning communications" means:

(a)  "Threats/confrontations" which are direct communications to a target of intent to harm and which may be delivered in person or by other means (e.g., text, email, telephone); or

(b)  "Leakage" which is the intentional or unintentional revealing of clues to a third-party about feelings, thoughts, fantasies, attitudes, or intentions that may signal the intent to commit a violent act.  This may include indirect threats of harm that are less obvious, subtler threats like innuendo about a desire to commit a violent attack, or boasts about the ability to harm others.

III.  "Emergency threat protection order" means a temporary or final order issued pursuant to this chapter.

IV.  "Fame-seeking leakage" means a kind of leakage in which the respondent reveals clues that signal an intent to commit a violent act for the specific purpose of seeking fame.

V.  "Family member" means a spouse or person cohabiting with another person.

VI.  "Firearm" means any weapon, including a starter gun, which will, is designed to, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.

VII.  "Imminent" means likely to take place within the very near future.

VIII. "Individuals" means any person who is a student, former student, employee, or former employee at a post secondary educational institution.

IX.  "Licensed mental health professional" means a person licensed by the state of New Hampshire or another state to provide mental health services and who has had suicide threat training.

X.  "Mental health" for purposes of RSA 135-G:2, or II(b)(1) means an individual who appears to have depression, anxiety, or paranoia, in his or her daily life in the 6 months before the attack.  "Mental health" is not synonymous with a diagnosis of mental illness.

XI.  "Other weapons" means any item capable of causing mass casualties such as, but not limited to, an explosive device, a motor vehicle, or bio-hazardous materials.

XII.  "Planning" means specific thoughts and actions involved in carrying out a shooting attack as revealed in words and/or conduct.  These actions may include the decision to engage in violence, the selection of specific or random targets, the act of conducting surveillance, and other practical issues such as obtaining victim schedules, transportation, and site access.  A general intent to act violently does not constitute planning.

XIII.  "Post secondary educational institution" means any institution governed by the higher education commission under RSA 21-N:8-a.

XIV.  "Potential stressors" means physical, psychological, or social forces within the last year that place real or perceived demands or pressures on an individual and which are causing psychological and/or physical distress.

XV.  "Preparation" means actions within the last year taken to procure the means for the attack, such as a firearm, ammunition, special clothing, or body armor.

XVI.  "Primary grievance" means the cause of the active shooter's distress or resentment; a perception, not necessarily based in reality, of having been wronged or treated unfairly or inappropriately.  It is more than a typical feeling of resentment or passing anger, rather it is one that results in a grossly distorted preoccupation with a sense of injustice, such as interpersonal, employment, governmental, academic, or financial actions that were perceived as distinctly personal to the respondent.

XVII.  "Public mass casualty shooter" means an individual who plans to kill, attempts to kill, or kills more than one person in any public space.

XVIII.  "Respondent" means the individual against whom the petition in RSA 135-G:4 is filed.

XIX.  "Targeting" means a person or group of people who were identifiable before the shooting occurred and whom the respondent intended to attack.  It is not necessary that the respondent knows the target by name; intending to attack a person holding a position at or affiliated with a business, educational facility, or in a governmental agency shall be sufficient.

135-G: 2  Involuntary Relinquishment.

I.  If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence at the hearing that the respondent poses a serious and imminent danger of personal injury to self or others, the court shall issue an extreme threat protection order.

II.  In determining whether a danger exists, the court shall determine if the following conditions are met:

(a)  A threat of suicide using a firearm exists based on:

(1)  The presence of both of the following:

(A)  Verbal suicide threats; and

(B)  Firearms acquisition, possession, or access; and

(2)  The presence of at least 4 of the following:

(A)  Expressions of hopelessness and helplessness; and

(B)  Previous suicide attempts;

(C)  Daring or risk-taking behavior;

(D)  Personality changes;

(E)  Depression;

(F)  Giving away prized possessions;

(G)  Lack of interest in future plans; or

(3)  The testimony of a licensed mental health professional that there is a threat of suicide by firearm given the possession of or access to a firearm by the respondent; or

(b)  A threat that the respondent may become a public mass casualty shooter exists based on either:

(1)  Evidence of 5 or more of the following:

(A)  Planning;

(B)  Preparation;

(C)  Firearms acquisition, possession, or access;

(D)  Possession, acquisition, or access to other weapons explicitly articulated by the respondent as the weapon of choice;

(E)  Potential stressors;

(F)  Mental health;

(G)  Leakage;

(H)  Concerning behaviors;

(I)  Primary grievance;

(J)  Targeting;

(K)  Suicidal ideations and/or attempts;

(L)  Concerning communications; or

(2)  Evidence of either (A), (B) and (C) or (A), (B), and (D) below:

(A)  Fame-seeking leakage.

(B)  Planning and/or preparation.

(C)  Acquisition or possession of or access to a firearm.

(D)  Possession of other weapons explicitly articulated by the respondent as the weapon of choice.

135-G:3  Petition.

I.  A law enforcement official may petition for a hearing in a circuit court to remove one or more firearms or other weapons on an involuntary basis from an individual under the standard in this section.

II.  Any person may report their concerns to a law enforcement official regarding an individual who may meet one or more of the standards in this section.  That official shall conduct an investigation, including outreach to the individual in question.

III.  The petition for removal of firearms or other weapons shall include:

(a)  The name of the respondent and their last known address.

(b)  The specific actions and words that the petitioner alleges will satisfy RSA 135-G:2.

(c)(1)  If proceeding under RSA 135-G:2, II(a)(2) an affidavit from a licensed mental health professional, who has examined the respondent within the 7 days prior to the date the petition is filed and who states that, based on this examination, the respondent satisfies the standard for removal of the individual's firearms set forth RSA 135-G:2, II; or

(2)  If proceeding under RSA 135-G:2, II(a)(1), or RSA 135-G:2, II(b), an affidavit from a family member or other responsible person that describes the specific actions, conduct, and words of the respondent that will satisfy RSA 135-G:2, II(a)(1) or RSA 135-G:2, II(b).

(d)  A statement as to whether the respondent has been the subject of a petition under RSA 135-C and the result of that petition and, if no petition has been filed in the last 30 days, a statement as to why not.

(e)  A statement from the local law enforcement agency that they have requested that the respondent voluntarily relinquish firearms or other weapons in the respondent's possession and that the respondent has declined to do so.

(f)  A statement that the local law enforcement agency has requested that the person or persons in possession of firearms or other weapons to which the respondent has access take appropriate measures to prevent such access and those person or persons have declined to take such measures.

(g)  The names and addresses of witnesses who can testify as to the occurrence of the specific actions and words that the petitioner alleges will satisfy RSA 135-G:2.

II.  Anyone reporting false information to a law enforcement agency to induce such agency to file a petition under this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor under RSA 641:4.  The law enforcement agency shall warn any person providing it with information to induce the filing of a petition under this section that they shall be prosecuted under RSA 641:4 if they provide false information.

135-G:4  Hearing Date.  Upon receipt of a petition under RSA 135-G:3, the circuit court shall set a hearing date which shall be within 5 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, from the date of receipt of the petition.

135-G:5  Copies of Petition.  Subsequent to receipt of the petition for involuntary removal of firearms or other weapons, the clerk shall, within one day of receipt of the petition, forward 2 copies to the respondent.

135-G:6  Involuntary Removal of Firearms or Other Weapons Prior to Hearing.  

I.  The respondent shall not have the firearms removed prior to the hearing unless upon filing of the petition as described in RSA 135-G:3, the circuit court concludes, by a preponderance of the evidence, that an imminent risk of serious harm exists prior to the scheduled hearing pursuant to RSA 135-G:4 to the respondent or to other people pursuant to the standard in RSA 135-G:2.

II.  Law enforcement shall comply with the provisions of RSA 135-G:12 in the execution of any order under paragraph I.

135-G:7  Appointment of Counsel.  The respondent has a right to counsel for all proceedings under RSA 135-G.  The respondent shall be notified at the time they are served with the petition of the right to counsel for all proceedings under RSA 135-G and, if he or she cannot afford one, the court will appoint counsel.  The respondent shall be provided with a financial statement for the appointment of counsel at the time he or she is served with the petition.

135-G:8  Examination by an Independent Licensed Mental Health Professional.  Upon receipt of the petition under RSA 135-G:3, the court may order the respondent to submit to an examination by a licensed mental health professional designated by the court prior to the date of the hearing.  A written report prepared by such professional shall be filed with the court on or before the date of the hearing.  The report shall include both of the following:

I.  In the opinion of the examining mental health professional:

(A)  Whether the respondent is a suicide threat based on a formal suicide threat assessment; and

(B)  What are the available treatment options for the respondent.

II.  Whether a less intrusive alternative exists to protect the respondent's safety and the safety of the public other than the involuntary removal of firearms or other weapons from the respondent.

135-G:9  Recommendations; Copy to Person.

I.  No later than the day before the hearing, 2 copies of the report prepared pursuant to RSA 135-G:8 shall be made available to the respondent and to his or her counsel.

II.  Either party may apply to the court for a continuance of the hearing on a petition for involuntary removal which the court may grant for good cause shown and in light of the risks at issue.

135-G:10  Conduct of Hearing.

I.  At a hearing held under this chapter, the respondent shall have the right to:

(a)  Legal counsel;

(b)  Present evidence on his or her own behalf or through counsel;

(c)  Have a closed hearing and a closed file unless they request otherwise,

(d)  Cross-examine witnesses themselves or through counsel; and

(e)  Summon as a witness the licensed mental health professional who filed the report pursuant to RSA 135-G:8 and to cross-examine him or her.

II.  At the hearing, the court shall:

(a)  Admit only reliable evidence using the New Hampshire rules of evidence as a guide.  A rebutable presumption shall exist that hearsay evidence is in admissible.

(b)  At the court's discretion, a transcript, which may consist only of any audio recording of the proceedings, may be made of the entire proceeding.  The transcript may serve as the basis for an appeal and the costs of the transcript shall be apportioned, within the judge's discretion, between the state and the respondent.  The transcript or recording shall be retained by the court for 2 years or until, if firearms are ordered to be involuntarily removed, official notice is received of the return of firearms to the respondent.

135-G:11  Order of Court.

I.  The court shall issue an order which requires the respondent to relinquish voluntarily all firearms or other weapons in their possession upon receipt of the order and to continue to not acquire or possess firearms if the court finds that:

(a)  The evidence presented at the hearing meets the standard described in either RSA 135-G:2, I, (a) or (b); and

(b)  No other reasonably available alternatives exist to protect the respondent's safety and the safety of the public other than the involuntary removal of the firearms or other weapons described in the petition, such as, but not limited to, voluntary relinquishment, mental health counseling, and/or treatment, or gun safety training.

II.  If the court has granted a petition under this section, and finds, based on clear and convincing evidence provided on the record, that the respondent has access to firearms or other weapons in the possession of other person or persons in the same household, the court shall inform such persons that they have a legal duty to secure such firearms or other weapons in an appropriate manner to prevent the respondent from having access during the pendency of any order under RSA 135-G:12.

III.  The order shall set a time limit of up to 6 months during which the respondent shall not acquire or possess firearms or other weapons.

IV.  The order shall also grant law enforcement an anticipatory search warrant which shall authorize law enforcement to search the location identified in the warrant for firearms or other weapons if and only if the respondent refuses to voluntarily relinquish the firearms in their possession.

V.  It shall constitute contempt of court for the respondent to purchase or possess those items covered by the court's emergency threat protection order.

VI.  The respondent shall have a de novo right to appeal the court's order to the superior court of the county in which the circuit court issuing the order is situated.  The superior court shall schedule such appeal within 5 days of receipt of the notice of appeal.  Unless an order has been issued pursuant to RSA 135-G:6, the circuit court's order under this provision shall be stayed.

135-G:12  Execution of Order.

I.  The local law enforcement agency shall execute the emergency threat protection order by:

(a)  Serving the respondent with the order; and

(b)  Requesting that the respondent voluntarily relinquish any firearms or other weapons in his or her possession.

II.  A refusal by the respondent to relinquish all firearms or other weapons in his or her possession may be prosecuted as criminal contempt of court.  If a law enforcement agency successfully recovers the firearms sought, the court shall dismiss the contempt order.

III.  Upon recovery of the firearms or other weapons, the law enforcement agency shall store the firearms at a secure location for the duration of the emergency threat protection order and with due care at no cost to the respondent.  The firearms shall not leave the secure location unless ordered by the court.

135-G:13  Notification.

I.  The clerk of the court shall forward a copy of any order issued under this chapter the same day such order is issued to the department of safety, which in turn shall forward a copy to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or its successor agency, for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check database.

II.  The order forwarded to the agencies described in paragraph I shall include:

(a)  The duration of the order, including its beginning date and ending date as well as a statement that the order is temporary and expires permanently on the ending date; and

(b)  A statement that the court's order makes no finding as to the mental health status of the respondent; and

(c)  A statement that the court's order is a civil, not criminal, order and the respondent has not been charged or found guilty of any crime as a part of the proceedings under RSA 135-G.

III.  If the court finds under RSA 135-G:14 that the emergency threat protection order shall be renewed, the clerk of court shall forward the new order to the agencies described in paragraph I.

IV.  If the court finds under RSA 135-G:14 that the emergency threat protection order shall not be renewed and the firearms shall be returned, the clerk of court shall forward the order to the agencies described in paragraph I.  The order shall include:

(a)  A statement the order previously forwarded in the matter has permanently expired as of the ending date, and

(b)  A statement that the previous order in the matter shall be deleted from the National Instant Criminal Background Check database and any other database in which the order has been entered.

135-G:14  Return of Firearms or Other Weapons.

I.  For the duration of the emergency protective order, the law enforcement agency shall retain possession of the respondent's firearms or other weapons at no expense to the respondent.

II.  No later than 14 days before the expiration of the emergency threat protection order, either the law enforcement agency or the petitioner may file a renewal petition seeking to extend the emergency threat protection order beyond the time period set in RSA 135-G:12, III.

III.  The issuing court shall set a date for a hearing no later than 2 days before the expiration of the emergency threat protection order.

IV.  The respondent shall be served with a copy of the petition and notified of the hearing date.

V.  At the hearing, if the petitioner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the return of the firearms or other weapons to the respondent would create serious and imminent danger of personal injury to self or others, the court shall renew the order for no more than 6 months.

VI.  If the petitioner fails to make the showing, the law enforcement agency shall return the firearms or other weapons to the respondent within 24 hours of the expiration of the original emergency threat protection order.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2021.

Links

HB1509 at GenCourtMobile
HB1509 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 5, 2020 House Hearing
Feb. 12, 2020 House Exec Session

Bill Text Revisions

HB1509 Revision: 7106 Date: Dec. 3, 2019, 10:40 a.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 8, 2020 Introduced 01/08/2020 and referred to Education HJ 1 P. 24
Feb. 5, 2020 Public Hearing: 02/05/2020 10:00 am LOB 205-207
Feb. 12, 2020 Executive Session: 02/12/2020 11:00 am LOB 207
Committee Report: Refer for Interim Study (Vote 11-6; RC)
Feb. 19, 2020 Committee Report: Refer for Interim Study for 02/19/2020 (Vote 11-6; RC) HC 7 P. 19
Feb. 19, 2020 Refer for Interim Study: MA VV 02/19/2020