NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition Statement Following House Votes on Background Checks, Gun Free Schools, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and Partial State Nullification

HB 59 would close background check loopholes, HB 32 keeps guns out of our schools, HB 106 passes an extreme risk protection order, and HB 78 repeals Sununu’s partial state nullification bill from last session

CONCORD, NH – Today the NH House voted to defeated a package of gun violence prevention bills to close background check loopholes, keep guns out of our schools, create an extreme risk protection order – a bipartisan policy that temporarily removes firearms from those who are a danger to themselves or others, and a repeal bill to overturn Governor Chris Sununu’s partial state nullification bill from last year that makes it harder for communities to respond swiftly to the threat of gun violence. At the same time, the House voted against a gun lobby effort to expand the state nullification law and enforce strong penalties for it.

“In the past year, we witnessed the senseless murders in Uvalde, Buffalo, Monterey Park, Michigan State, and so many other communities, and these are only the gun tragedies that make the national news,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress. “Every day our communities deal with gun violence, and each of us needs to do our part to improve public safety by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, promoting responsible gun ownership, holding the gun lobby and industry accountable, and keeping high capacity weapons off our streets and out of our schools. We condemn the votes against public safety in the State House. Every single legislator who voted against these measures is responsible for the epidemic of gun violence that continues to harm our communities and our futures.”

The NH House voted against HB 59, closing background check loopholes 197-175; HB 32, keeping guns out of our schools 199-174; HB 106, creating an extreme risk protection order, 198-172; and HB 78, repealing Sununu’s partial state nullification bill from last session, 200-173. In better news, the NH House also voted in the consent calendar to defeat HB 474, a gun lobby bill to further expand state nullification of firearms laws and enforce strong penalties around it.

Members of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition released the following statements:   

State Rep. David Meuse, a member of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition: “It was a bad day for New Hampshire supporters of bills to reduce the risk of gun violence, but a worse day for public safety. Guns do not belong in the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others, and our families and children should be able to go to the park or attend school without the fear of gun violence. We remain committed to urgent action to reduce gun violence in our nation.”

State Rep. Amy Bradley, prime sponsor of Extreme Risk Protection Orders and a member of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition: “The majority of Granite Staters support passing long-overdue, common sense gun violence prevention measures in New Hampshire. We must do everything in our power to turn back the seemingly endless cycle of tragedy, “thoughts and prayers,” and inaction or doubling down on policies that enable guns in the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others.”

State Rep. Loren Selig (D-Durham), a member of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition: “This issue is simple, we do not need firearms in our schools. While federal law establishes ‘gun free school zones’ for the conduct of students, gaps in state law allow for members of the public to bring firearms onto school campuses, jeopardizing the safety of our kids, their teachers, and school resource officers. The tragic reality is there have been over 100 mass shootings already in 2023. My own children now instinctively look for hiding places and easy exits when they should be focused on their learning. As a parent, worrying that my kids will be traumatized by violence, or worse, won’t come home, is an unsustainable way to live. It does not have to be this way and legislation to cure gaps in the law is a tool we can and must use to protect Granite Staters from harm. It is gravely disappointing to see the House refuse common-sense gun violence prevention measures time and time again. ”

Rev. Heidi Heath, Executive Director of the NH Council of Churches: “A society is only as strong as how we care for our children. Something is terribly wrong when our children can go to school, and their parents have to worry they will be gunned down in their learning environment. The Council of Churches believes all are created in the image of God, and entitled to live free from the epidemic of gun violence. Today’s vote is a hard loss for parents, students, and all who seek a safer Granite State for children and families.”

Fisto Ndayishimiye, Lead Organizer for Change for Concord and GunSense NH Youth Advisory Board Member: “I am a survivor of a community where gun violence was pervasive, and I understand the impacts and harms that guns can cause when handled inappropriately and dangerously. I urge the New Hampshire House of Representatives to pass gun violence prevention efforts to keep our communities safer.”

Aarika Roy, Student Leader and Junior at Nashua North High School, GunSense NH Youth Advisory Board Member: “Time and time again, as a country we continue to fall into a deeper cycle of gun violence. My peers and I continue to advocate for stricter gun violence prevention policies, and we have tried to make our voices heard through a number of ways including protesting, testifying, speaking directly with our lawmakers, and more. Governor Sununu and the state legislature continue to push us down and discourage us with their inaction. The further our country falls into this dangerous path, the more likely something as horrific as what has occurred repeatedly in other states will occur here if our elected officials don’t make safe, informed decisions. We encourage them to reconsider these gun violence prevention bills to create a safer future for students across the state, and set an example across the nation.”

Jonathan Weinberg, a campaign organizer with GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress, and a former March for Our Lives student leader inspired by the student response to the Parkland shooting:

“Less than a year ago, we witnessed Uvalde. Over five years ago, we witnessed Parkland. Over ten years ago, we witnessed Sandy Hook. Over twenty years ago, we witnessed Columbine. As of Sunday, March 6th, Axios reported that the U.S already surpassed over 100 mass shootings in 2023. It is beyond time that the New Hampshire State Legislature act and pass gun violence prevention legislation, enacting safeguards to create safer communities. Today we witnessed an abject failure from our state legislators as they opposed gun violence prevention measures, disregarding the will of the voters.”

The remaining packaging of gun violence prevention bills is anticipated to be scheduled for floor votes later in March. For more details on the bills or to speak to gun violence prevention advocates, contact GunSense NH.


Public Education Advocates Request the Department of Education to Halt 306 Rules Revision Until Clear Public Process and Timeline Established

The minimum standards for public education are being redrafted with little transparency or public input

CONCORD, NH –  Professional educators, parents, and community leaders from some of the state’s leading public education organizations have signed a joint letter requesting the New Hampshire Department of Education and the NH State Board of Education to halt the current 306 Rules revision process until a more transparent and inclusive public process and timeline is established for the consequential rules. 

The 306 Rules, also known as the Minimum Standards for Public Education, address every aspect of public education in New Hampshire. From professional development for teachers to classroom curriculum to what is served in the cafeteria, the 306’s have a significant impact on the way New Hampshire public education students experience schooling. Yet the process for drafting the new rules has left many concerned. The letter addresses several aspects of the current process that the state’s top public education advocates want addressed, such as a lack of diverse and critical input from key education partners and stakeholders, the current drafted version’s attempts to gut core content areas, and a lack of public transparency and accountability and a clear timeline on behalf of both the NH Department of Education and the National Center for Competency Based Learning (NCCBL), the firm hired through a sole-source contract to conduct the revision process.

“The NH Department of Education’s current 306 Rules drafting process is being conducted by an outside firm with little public oversight for how stakeholders are selected, the content they discuss, the input they provide, or the timeline they are operating on,” said Sarah Robinson, the Education Justice Campaign Director for Granite State Progress. “These rules are crucial to maintaining a strong and inclusive public education in our state. Without broad public input and scrutiny from all stakeholders, how can the DOE expect to offer a draft that meets the needs of our students? We should all be concerned about attempts to rewrite our public education standards without a strong and transparent public process.”

The joint letter, found below, calls to restart the process in a more open and transparent manner and to include a broad and diverse range of stakeholders to ensure the best outcomes for our students, and our state. Signing organizations offer the additional statements:

Megan Tuttle, President, NEA-NH: “The behind-closed-doors process being used by the New Hampshire Department of Education and their selected contractor is very concerning and runs counter to how we do things in New Hampshire. With something as important as rewriting the minimum standards for our public schools, input from a broad variety of stakeholders and the public should have been included from the start. Every New Hampshire student deserves a school with the resources, programs, and curriculum to nurture their curiosity and desire to learn. The 306 Rules are a critical part of ensuring high expectations and standards across our schools that foster strong, inclusive learning environments for our students and facilitate parental, family, and community involvement and engagement. We urge the Commissioner to restart these efforts with a more representative process, operating in a transparent environment.”

Deb Howes, President, AFT-NH: “The 306 Rules serve as the foundation for learning in our public schools, and education stakeholders know how critical it is that the rules are established in the best interest of our students. Without a clear process and timeline, involving a broad and diverse range of stakeholders, the NH Department of Education is harming public confidence in how the rules are being formed and implemented. There is reasonable concern over whether the process is being intentionally conducted outside of established timelines and public oversight, and what that might mean for public schools and our students. Moving quickly to establish a clear and public process allows everyone to move forward together.” 

Zack Sheehan, Project Director, NH School Funding Fairness Project: “Changes to these standards impact almost every aspect of our public schools, including conversations and decisions related to funding. These standards must strive to support well-resourced public schools that can provide a great education to every student who walks through their doors. That’s why it is critical that there be a process that incorporates and values opportunities for public input. I understand that actively seeking out input from a diverse set of stakeholders is challenging, time consuming work, but our students, parents, school districts, and taxpayers deserve nothing less.”

Jen Bisson, Board Chair, Support Our Schools New Hampshire: “As a parent of two young daughters, I am disheartened by the way in which the state has handled revising the 306 Administrative rules. I am very concerned that these rules are going to hurt the public schools that my children attend. There has been almost no transparency in the process, and what little we have been able to learn about the process is troubling to say the least. It is time to start this process over and do it right. Our childrens’ education is too important.”

Carisa Corrow, Founder, Educating for Good: “As times change and priorities shift, New Hampshire’s rules for public schools should be updated regularly in a transparent process that includes students, parents, educators as well as the community at large. The current attempt at updating NH’s education rules has neither been transparent nor inclusive of the communities these rules will serve. While recent attempts to engage educators is encouraging, the Department of Education needs to ensure more voices are heard.”

Janet Ward, Vice President, League of Women Voters NH: “The League of Women Voters of NH supports public schools as a foundation of our democracy. The League believes in transparency in all state departments.  Revision of the rules which govern New Hampshire’s schools should be done in an open and public manner. The most recent review of the 306 rules has been done privately, without public participation or oversight.  These are the reasons the League signed the letter sent to NH’s Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education asking for the establishment of an open and transparent 306 revisioning process.”


LGBTQ+ Advocates and Moms Speak Out Against CD 1 Republican Candidate Karoline Leavitt Targeting LGBTQ+ Youth

Most Granite Staters agree: “LGBTQ+ Students Belong in New Hampshire”

MANCHESTER, NH – Today CD 1 Republican Candidate Karoline Leavitt held a press conference outside of West High School in Manchester, NH to demand that school officials out LGBTQ+ students to their families – a move that directly interferes in parent-child relationships and could put some Granite State students at risk for harm.

Advocates for LGBTQ+ youth and New Hampshire moms released the following statements.

Linds Jakows, 603 Equality: “LGBTQ people belong, and sometimes schools are the only place for LGBTQ youth to feel safe being who they are. 603 Equality rejects all attempts to create unsafe learning environments for students, risk their mental health, and undermine the state’s obligation to provide an adequate and inclusive education for all students. No LGBTQ+ student should be deprived of the safety and affirmation a public school can provide.”

“Every child deserves a safe, healthy, and affirming home environment, but when that is not possible – or when a child is not yet ready to have a conversation with their family about their identity – schools should not be put in the place of outing that student and potentially putting the child at risk. More than half of LGBTQ+ youth have seriously considered suicide, and 1 in 5 transgender or non-binary youth attempted suicide in the past year alone. However, those whose pronouns were respected attempted suicide at half the rate. We need to support and protect LGBTQ+ students.”

Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign Director for Granite State Progress: “Our schools should be places of belonging, where all children have the freedom learn in a safe and affirming environment. As a mom myself, I want my children to be valued in every space they are in. Coming out to a parent is a big moment in a child’s life. Regardless of how parents feel about their children’s identity, teachers and school officials should not be put in the position to interfere with that parent-child relationship. We also know that for some students, coming out puts them in serious danger at home. We have a responsibility for the safety of our students.”

Marcella Termini, parent of Manchester School District students: “Most of us want to see our children thrive, and work in close partnership with our schools to make that happen. Politicians like Karoline Leavitt are attacking LGBTQ+ students just to score political points and try to drive a wedge between parents and public schools. It’s dangerous and it’s wrong. LGBTQ+ kids belong in New Hampshire. If your kid is not telling you something, that should tell you something. Creating supportive home environments that are welcoming and affirming is the best approach so that children know they can have that conversation when they are ready.”

Meanwhile, Granite Staters have made it clear that NH supports LGBTQ+ youth. Local communities have rejected both politicians and policies that promote so-called parental rights or Don’t Say Gay bills, book bans, and other efforts to harm LGBTQ+ students and undermine school efforts to create affirming, inclusive learning environments. Examples:

  • In March school board elections, Granite Staters across the state overwhelmingly rejected candidates who targeted a strong, inclusive public education.
  • In May, the New Hampshire state legislature rejected a bill which would have removed community protections for children, including requiring mandatory, immediate disclosure to parents about changes in gender identity and expression at school, even if it put the student at risk or danger.
  • In September, the City of Rochester handily blocked a proposed book ban by Senator and City Council James Gray to ban 4 LGBTQ+ books from the city library.

Every time politicians come after our LGBTQ+ kids, our community will rise up to protect our children. Every child deserves to be safe, healthy, and loved. 


A group of moms attended the press conference in person to instead share messages of love and support for LGBTQ+ students.

Film Director of Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are?) to Join NH Education and Racial Justice Leaders for Film Screening and Panel Discussion on Tuesday, September 27th at Red River Theatres

Film explores how Americans portray the story of the Civil War across the nation, and the ongoing impacts on society, public education, and racial justice

CONCORD, NH – With so much attention focused on what’s being taught in New Hampshire classrooms –– and classrooms across the country –– Granite State Progress and Learn From History are hosting an evening of impactful discussion with the people closest to the issue: parents, educators, students, and racial justice leaders from across New Hampshire.

The evening will kick off with a screening of the documentary Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are?) followed by a panel discussion with film director Rachel Boynton and New Hampshire leaders in public education, racial justice, and an honest education, including:

  • Woullard Lett: Co-Chair of N’Cobra New England Chapter and Chair of the NAACP of Manchester NH Education Committee
  • Ronelle Tshiela: Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter Manchester and JD Candidate at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law
  • Jonah Wheeler: HEAL Together Program Coordinator, Rights and Democracy NH
  • Tina Philibotte: Educator and DEIJ Leader
  • Misty Crompton: 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher
  • State Rep. Manny Espitia: Nashua

“This is a powerful and reflective opportunity as we work together to protect our public schools and ensure our children can learn from the mistakes of the past in order to build a better future for all of us,” said Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign Director for Granite State Progress, who will moderate the panel.

Members of the public wishing to attend may register here.

Members of the media wishing to attend or schedule an interview should email zandra@granitestateprogress.org.

More about the documentary: Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are?)

Directed by Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Rachel Boynton, the film provides a look at how Americans portray the story of their Civil War, revealing a nation haunted by an embittered past and the stories it refuses to tell. Filmed from the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency through the present, it interweaves insightful scenes and touching interviews to paint a portrait of the American psyche and the deep roots of its turbulent times.

The Washington Post wrote: “In “Civil War: (Or, Who Do We Think We Are),” filmmaker Rachel Boynton takes viewers on a road trip through American public memory — and thus through ignorance, both accidental and intentional … Heritage, it turns out, is a more apt phrase than history for what many citizens are steeped in, especially in the South, where after the Civil War such organizations as the United Daughters of the Confederacy instituted curriculums that forbade teaching that the conflict was waged to preserve slavery. But mythmaking was just as prevalent in the North, where reconciliation was readily and routinely prioritized over racial justice.” RogerEbert.com stated “Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are)” is an account of a country that broke apart and never really got back together.”


Back to School Gun Violence Prevention Assembly Scheduled for Saturday, September 10th at 10:00 AM at Concord High School

As another school year begins, students, parents, educators, and community members gather to remember victims of gun violence and to work toward safer schools and communities

CONCORD, NH – Students, parents, educators, and community members will gather outside of Concord High School on Saturday, September 10th at 10:00 am to remember the victims and survivors of gun violence and work urgently to prevent future tragedies.

The Back to School Gun Violence Prevention Assembly is hosted by members of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition. The program features speakers and an overview about school safety in New Hampshire right now, including ways to take action to protect our students, educators, and community. The event includes a Be SMART table hosted by Moms Demand Action. The Be SMART framework is designed to help parents and adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries.

According to Education Week, there have been 29 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or deaths. Across the country, there have been more than 300 mass shootings in 2022.

In New Hampshire, there is no state law prohibiting firearms in K-12 schools by community members; federal law provides more protections but guidance from the Attorney General’s office leaves schools and communities in vulnerable situations. Governor Chris Sununu vetoed a gun free schools bill, along with bills to close background check loopholes and implement other common sense gun violence prevention policies.

WHAT:          Back to School Gun Violence Prevention Assembly

WHEN:           Saturday, September 10th at 10:00 AM

WHERE:        Concord High School, 170 Warren St, Concord, NH 03301

WHO:             Hosted by GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress; Moms Demand Action New Hampshire; and other members of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition