A state lawmaker has filed a bill to explicitly permit residents to ward off trespassers by exhibiting a firearm.

“We want to make it very clear to the courts that protecting our property is an absolute right,” said state Rep. Betsey Patten, R-Moultonborough, who filed the bill at the Statehouse Monday while group outside the Capitol protested the imprisonment of a Moultonborough resident for criminal threatening for brandishing a firearm when a woman trespassed on his property.

Patten acknowledged that if the bill were to become law it would not help Ward Bird who is serving a three- to six-year sentenced in State Prison.

In an nine-page opinion authored by Associate Justice Gary Hicks the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld Ward’s conviction late last month ruling that, “a rational juror could have found that the defendant’s belief that it was necessary to wave his pistol to terminate (the victim’s) trespass was not objectively reasonable.”

“Considering the evidence and all inference to be drawn from it in the light most favorable to the state, a rational juror readily could have found that the defendant’s actions of waving and pointed a gun toward the victim, while yelling “get the f¿ of my property,” constituted felony criminal threatening,” the Supreme Court ruled.

Bird’s supporters claim he never leveled the gun at the woman, but rather took it out of back holster and checked it to assure the safety was on.

Source: Bea Lewis for

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