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Citizens divided on town panhandling ordinances (885 responses; 4/7/15)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 12:21
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(Before It's News)

By Rob Levey

In the past few years, numerous NH towns and cities have considered passing ordinances that would ban panhandling in public places. Lebanon is currently reviewing an ordinance that would allow individuals to still hold up signs asking for money, but forbid them from going into roadways to take or receive something from a vehicle. In light of this recent development in Lebanon, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked Facebook members on March 7 if they oppose or support town panhandling ordinances.


In directly answering the question, 54% of respondents said they oppose ordinances against panhandling and 46% said they support them. 49% of all respondents did not provide a clear answer to the question and instead discussed the subject in broader terms. In sum, the LFDA received specific comments from 262 individuals supported by 471 concurrences for a total of 885 citizen responses.


Several of the respondents who opposed ordinances to ban panhandling cited reasons of compassion

One woman remarked, “If these people would be as fortunate like you and I, they wouldn’t ask for money. They are human beings like us.” Others noted towns themselves are responsible in part for helping those who panhandle. “I don't think a town can morally pass laws against it until it has done everything to come to a solution to helping these poor people,” offered one respondent.


For others, however, panhandling is a public nuisance that should be banned. Remarked one respondent, “I believe it is dangerous for them to go up to cars and it is extremely intimidating. Something needs to be done.” Others questioned the circumstances that surround panhandlers themselves, including one gentleman who said, “This is not a form of free speech. Not all of them are on the up and up—some do it to buy drugs.”


More than half of all respondents, though, did not provide a direct “yes” or “no” to the question, although many touched on subjects raised by those who did. One respondent acknowledged, “The problem is deciphering between the true homeless that need and the ones that are out to make their way by begging.” Without answering the question, one woman said, “It's free drug, liquor, and cigarette money—tax free to boot.”


The nonprofit, nonpartisan LFDA takes no position on this or any issue, as this report is presented as a summary of citizen testimony. As New Hampshire’s Virtual Town Hall, the LFDA community, numbering more than 60,000, provides objective information on state issues, promotes the civil exchange of opinions, and communicates views to elected officials. To learn more about this issue or the LFDA, visit


Rob Levey is an Editor with the Live Free or Die Alliance

Live Free or Die Alliance


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