NH Advocates Press Lawmakers on Gun Violence Prevention Bills / Public News Service


Advocates for safe gun laws in the Granite State gave several hours of public testimony Wednesday, regarding a package of firearms-related bills moving through House committees.

Many of those who testified are supporting bills to close background-check loopholes, create a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a gun, and keep guns out of schools.

Rep. Loren Selig, D-Durham, said it comes down to common sense.

“The number of bills that we have that are actually supported by 90% of gun owners is high,” Selig pointed out. “Legislators need to listen to people other than just the NRA about how to make decisions.”

Selig and others are also pushing for lawmakers to pass the bipartisan extreme-risk protection order, which temporarily restricts access to guns for individuals at risk of harming themselves or others. Suicide makes up 88% of gun deaths in New Hampshire compared with 57% nationally.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed a law in 2017 eliminating the need to apply for a permit to carry a concealed firearm in New Hampshire.

Since then, Sununu has vetoed most gun-related bills, arguing they would violate the state’s “culture of responsible gun ownership and individual freedom.”

Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress and a member of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, said very basic laws would improve public safety.

“Advocates were out here today because we believe that enough is enough,” Rice Hawkins emphasized. “We should be able to walk down our streets, go to our schools, without having to worry about gun violence.”

Rice Hawkins said as the five-year anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, approaches, lawmakers can help prevent a similar tragedy from happening in New Hampshire.

Disclosure: The Granite State Progress Education Fund and Granite State Progress contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Gun Violence Prevention, Health Issues, and Women’s Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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