Patch's reappointment delayed two more weeks

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — Glen's David Patch will have to wait two more weeks to learn whether he will be reappointed to a five-year term on the state Fish and Game Commission.

His reappointment was scheduled to come before the Governor's Executive Council on Wednesday, but the five council members tabled it for a fortnight.

"I now want the reappointment more than ever," the 69-year-old Patch said by phone Wednesday.

The reason for the delay, he said, was "someone asked the Attorney General to find out what the commissioners' job is."

"They didn't bring it up today," Gene Chandler, deputy speaker of the House from Bartlett, told the Sun Wednesday afternoon.

"Apparently (one of the councilors) wanted to know what the responsibilities of the commission is, although I think it spells it out pretty clearly on the website."

Opposing Patch's reappointment was the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, a grassroots group that has essentially blacklisted all 11 commission members for their votes earlier this year on two bills which support the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms).

The commission opposed SB 12, which allows concealed carry in the Granite State without a permit, and HB 84, which called for the end of a ban on loaded firearms in vehicles.

Patch is the first commissioner up for reappointment since the bills passed.

The commission voted against the bills "as written." Patch said his rationale in not supporting SB12 was the wording of the bill. "The whole bill had the words revolver/pistol in it (for concealed carry)," he explained, "until it got to the back page where it was inserted firearms instead of pistol/revolver. Firearms opens the door (to all guns). My thinking was if we pass a bill that's not clean, it will not stand if someone challenges it, then we run the risk of not having enough people support it in the future."

Patch said Paul Sanderson, attorney for the Fish Game, advised the members not to support the two bills "as written."

"One of the councilors' issues, I don't know which one, was that I didn't know my job and should have acted (on the legislation)," Patch said Wednesday.

The Fish and Game website states, "Commission members must be well-informed on the subject of fish and wildlife; no more than six commissioners may be members of the same political party."

Joe Kenney of Wakefield, executive councilor for District I, said he went over the duties of the commission in the previous two weeks and was ready to vote to reappoint Patch on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Kenney said of Patch: "He is a man of public service and well-thought of by the people of Carroll County. I'm good with where I'm at on this. I think David does a great job."

Chandler is optimistic that Patch will eventually be reappointed.

"I guess we're going to have to wait two more weeks," he said. "I think a lot of people thought it would get done (Wednesday)."

According to its website, The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, "is New Hampshire's only No Compromise Gun Rights Organization. While many so-called 'gun rights groups' work to curry favor with politicians and the media, NHFC is working aggressively to hold politicians accountable and to put a stop to gun control."

Alan M. Rice, vice president and training director for the all volunteer New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, Inc., said "nothing has changed" in the group's disapproval of Patch.

"David Patch is an anti-gun activist," Rice said Tuesday. "David Patch is not as pro Second Amendment as people in Carroll County think. ...We have made it known that this will be a scored vote. If you're pro gun, you'll vote against David Patch."

Patch said Wednesday: "I've not had one person from Carroll County say, 'David, what did you do?' They're all saying, 'David, what's wrong with those people? They don't know you.' They're right — they don't know me."