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.