After Back-To-Back Deadly Shootings at NH Hospital and in Manchester, NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition Urges Action To Prevent Future Tragedies

After Back-To-Back Deadly Shootings at NH Hospital and in Manchester, NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition Urges Action To Prevent Future Tragedies

CONCORD, NH – After two deadly shootings in New Hampshire this weekend — one at the NH State Hospital in Concord on Friday night and one in Manchester early on Saturday morning — members of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition released the following statements.

“The NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition extends our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Bradley Haas, the Franklin Police Department, the NH State Police, the staff and patients at NH Hospital, and everyone impacted in the surrounding Concord community,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress. “We also commend the quick actions of the state officer who engaged and disabled the shooter, thereby ensuring that there were no additional victims. That officer unquestionably saved lives on Friday, and we are grateful.”

“An entire community was affected by the shooting at New Hampshire Hospital,” said Tracy Hahn-Burkett of the Kent Street Coalition, a member of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition. “Hospital employees hid behind desks and barricaded themselves in closets, Concord residents heard the blares of sirens, and people all over the area wondered, ‘Is it our turn now?’ This is what living in a nation that accepts gun violence as a way of life has done. Despite Governor Chris Sununu and Attorney General Formella’s insistence that New Hampshire is the safest state in the nation, New Hampshire has never been immune from gun violence. Friday’s shooting shone a spotlight on that truth. It’s important to note that the prohibition of firearms on NH State Hospital grounds made it easy for law enforcement to identify the shooter. The same might not be said in situations where law enforcement arrives in an active shooter situation amongst multiple armed individuals and the potential for confusion and additional loss of life is even greater. How many more shootings will it take—how many more people have to die—before our elected representatives will follow the will of the people and enact reasonable gun violence prevention measures to reduce the bloodshed and fear in the Granite State?”

“Back to back shootings happened here in New Hampshire, Concord on Friday, and Manchester on Saturday. Gun violence is here in the Granite State and we need to take meaningful action to prevent and deter future tragedy,” said State Senator Debra Altschiller, a prime sponsor and champion of gun violence prevention legislation. “Our hearts are broken for the victims’ families. They have our deepest condolences and promise to keep working to prevent other families from this unimaginable pain.”

“If there is anything that proves just how unsafe we are in this moment, it’s the fact that not even a retired police chief working in a secure state facility equipped with metal detectors is safe from the ever-present risk of gun violence,” said State Representative David Meuse, a prime sponsor and champion of gun violence prevention legislation. “Empty reassurances and gaslighting talk that feeds the notion that residents are “safe” in a state with some of the weakest gun safety laws in the country denies the reality of what we have all just experienced—and what two families will live with forever.”

“Every person in our country should be able to go to school, church, the grocery store, a hospital, the movie theater, or simply walk down the street without fear of gun violence,” said Rice Hawkins. “Gun violence is a uniquely American problem, and it is preventable. States like New Hampshire and Maine are not immune to the public health crisis that is gun violence, and no community ever expects to be the next national headline until they are. Across the country, there have been more than 606 mass shootings in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and firearms are the number one cause of death for American children. When our state legislature returns to work in January, we demand that they pass bills that will prevent future gun violence, for our children and our futures.”

The NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition urges Governor Chris Sununu and the New Hampshire State Legislature to support proven policies to prevent and reduce gun violence, such as closing background checks loopholes, creating a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm, allowing extreme risk protection orders, passing a state gun free schools law, and limiting assault weapons and high capacity magazines. All of these are popular, bipartisan policies that will have a direct impact on reducing gun violence and make our communities safer.

The NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition thanks NAMI New Hampshire for sharing the Department of Health and Human Services call center for family members of New Hampshire Hospital patients and staff looking for information about their loved ones. The phone number is (603) 271-3004. 

NAMI also reminds community members that the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and NH Rapid Response are available at 833-710-6477, which provides access to NH-based Mobile Crisis Response. 

About the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition: The NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition has worked together for the last decade to protect and advance common sense public safety laws. Members include gun violence prevention advocates, moms, medical professionals, gun owners, veterans, law enforcement, elected officials, school administrators, educators, students, and faith leaders, and organizations representing various constituencies.  The coalition is convened by GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress. The annual NH Gun Violence Prevention Summit is scheduled for Saturday, December 9th.