Biden-Harris Administration works to save lives while Gov. Chris Sununu and his Republican majorities continue to stand in the way
CONCORD, NH – President Joe Biden announced several executive orders this week aimed at reducing gun violence in America. At the same time, Gov. Chris Sununu and his Republican majorities in the New Hampshire legislature are standing in the way of common sense public safety laws.
Statement from Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress: “Gun violence is a public health pandemic. Even when they don’t make the headlines, senseless gun tragedies take lives every day and leave lasting trauma in communities, especially communities of color. We all have the right to be safe in our homes, schools, and communities. Granite Staters agree that we need to take action to reduce gun violence, make our communities safer, and save lives. We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for taking swift action to make our communities safer. It is frustrating that Chris Sununu and his Republican majorities in the state legislature continue to hold New Hampshire back on common sense gun safety. Right now our state is on track to allow loaded weapons on snowmobiles, target practice in town cemeteries, guns and knives in the hallways of our schools, and the expansion of deadly, racist Stand Your Ground laws that allow people to shoot first, ask questions later and avoid culpability for murder. We need a shared commitment to taking action to reduce all forms of gun violence – community violence, mass shootings, domestic violence, and suicide by firearm.”
Statement from Tracy Hahn-Burkett, convener of the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group for the Kent Street Coalition: “Last session Governor Sununu vetoed closing background check loopholes, creating a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of firearms, ensuring gun free schools, and passing an extreme risk protection order law. Governor Sununu continues to side with the corporate gun lobby instead of with the majority of Granite Staters who support common sense gun violence prevention efforts. We call on the Governor to speak up immediately and let the public know where he stands on federal and state efforts, especially as SB 154 seeks to prohibit the state from enforcing any Presidential Executive Order related to firearms, ammunition, and knives.”
The Biden-Harris Administration announced the following six initial actions:
- The Justice Department, within 30 days, will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns.” As more criminals buy kits to assemble firearms in as little as 30 minutes to commit crimes that cannot be traced to the weapon, this proposed rule will help stop the proliferation of these firearms.
- The Justice Department, within 60 days, will issue a proposed rule to make clear that devices marketed as a stabilizing brace are subject to the National Firearms Act. The proposed rule will make clear that devices marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled shotgun or rifle – making them subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.
- The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model “red flag” legislation for states. This will make it easier for states to adopt red flag laws, which let family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.
- The Justice Department will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking. The Justice Department will issue a new, comprehensive report on firearms trafficking – which hasn’t been done since 2000 – and annual updates necessary to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking today.
- The Administration is investing in substantive evidence-based community violence interventions – proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities. Because cities across the country are experiencing a historic spike in homicides, the Biden-Harris Administration is directing five federal agencies to modify 26 programs that will route vital support to community violence intervention programs as quickly as possible. This also adds to the proposed $5 billion investment in the American Jobs Plan that will support community violence intervention programs.
- President Biden will nominate David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). ATF is the key agency enforcing our gun laws, and it needs a permanent director in order to do the job to the best of its ability – but it has not had a confirmed director since 2015. Chipman served at ATF for 25 years, has helped investigate high profile bombings, has worked to advance commonsense gun safety laws, and is a gun owner himself.
President Biden also reiterated his calls for Congress to swiftly pass commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence supported by an overwhelming majority of the American people, including by closing loopholes in the background check system, banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and more.
GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress, works to protect and advance common sense public safety laws. GunSense NH convenes the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, members include survivors, gun violence prevention advocates, moms, medical professionals, gun owners, veterans, law enforcement, elected officials, school administrators, educators, students, faith leaders, and more.