Will New State Law Block Federal Mental Health Grants?

July 3—Gov. Chris Sununu says the state will continue mental health care subsidies authorized by a new federal law to expand care capacity across the state, but last week Sununu signed legislation that could become an obstacle to the receipt of this money.

Gun rights advocates have sued the legislation (HB 1178), which bars state and local law enforcement from enforcing federal gun “laws, rules, and regulations.”

The impetus for the bill grew after President Joe Biden issued executive orders to block the use of bump stocks, which can make a semi-assault rifle function like a machine gun; and “ghost guns”, weapons assembled and sold privately without identification numbers.

The question is whether this state measure would block mental health subsidies, since they stemmed from the new bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

“We have no reason to believe New Hampshire won’t be able to get those dollars,” Sununu said. “We have to stay tuned to the rules and regulations that come out of that so that Washington doesn’t try to make this political and exclude certain states.”

Attorney General John Formella said he will soon send local law enforcement a legal fact sheet on the gun pre-emption bill that Sununu signed into law last week.

“It’s not as drastic as what has been said in the media,” Formella said.

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