NH Gun Violence Prevention Alert: 4 Major Actions to Take Right Now

This is a big week for firearms related bills at the State House – and we need your help calling for stronger public safety laws. Here are four immediate actions you can take, with more information below:

HB 201, Background Checks to Keep Guns Out of Hands of Felons, Domestic Abusers

Last year, New Hampshire conducted over 165,000 background checks to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and other prohibited persons. But guns sold in New Hampshire through private sales at gun shows, online, or the classifieds do not currently require a background check. Under HB 201, commercially advertised gun sales – a sale, transfer, or exchange of a firearm that takes place at, or on the curtilage of, a gun show or pursuant to an offer to sell or buy a firearm from an advertisement, posting, listing, or display – would require a criminal background check through a federally licensed dealer using the same background check system already used in all dealer sales. Take Action: Send a letter to your State Representatives on HB 201

HB 350, Prohibiting Firearms at Polling Places, Like Schools & Churches

Recognizing that guns have no place in our nation’s schools, the federal government has taken steps to make our elementary and secondary schools safer from gun violence by adopting: 1) The Gun-Free School Zones Act; and 2) The Gun-Free Schools Act. Establishing gun-free school zones – that prohibit possession of a gun within a school, on school property, or within a set distance of school property – helps to secure schools from gun-related violence and crime. Currently, only adults with valid concealed carry licenses may carry within a school in New Hampshire. New Hampshire, however, has no such state law limiting firearms within schools, open or concealed carry, and during the last election state officials made it known they could not enforce laws to keep firearms out of polling locations located in schools – some of which are open on Election Day. HB 350 would prohibit firearms in polling locations and provide New Hampshire with jurisdiction to enforce that law. Take Action: Send a letter to your State Representatives on HB 350

SB 12, Allowing Dangerous Individuals to Legally Carry Hidden, Loaded Guns

The State Senate and House fast-tracked this bill which will repeal the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver and allow dangerous individuals to legally carry a hidden, loaded weapon. New Hampshire law currently allows anyone to open carry a weapon so long as they are not prohibited from owning a firearm, but to conceal carry you must have a license issued by local police or officials. New Hampshire does not require applicants to have a specific reason for conceal carry –self-protection, the protection of property, or target practice are all considered proper purposes – but our law does require that the applicant is a suitable person to be licensed. If SB 12 becomes law, New Hampshire will allow dangerous individuals to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons. The NH Police Chiefs Association stated this could make it legal for minors, sex offenders, and stalkers to legally conceal carry. This bill is a top priority for the gun lobby in the legislature and Governor Chris Sununu (R) is poised to sign it – unless we can stop him. Take Action: Urge Governor Sununu to veto SB 12

Make Background Checks a Democratic Caucus Priority

While the majority of New Hampshire House Democrats support common sense gun violence prevention, not all of them do. We were very disappointed to see three Democrats on the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee – including the House Minority Leader’s appointed ranking Democrat on the committee – vote against closing the background checks loopholes. These same legislators did stand with us on the concealed carry law – which requires both a background check and that an individual be a suitable person – so why the difference in votes? It all comes down to caucus priorities. The House Democratic Caucus has routinely considered background checks a “vote of conscience.” Take Action: Call on House Democratic Leadership to Make Background Checks a Caucus Priority

There are other firearms related bills in the State Senate and State House. To learn more about these other bills or get more involved, contact Granite State Progress. As always, thank you for all you do to keep New Hampshire moving forward.