The New Hampshire chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the New Hampshire House passed HB 307, which would expand New Hampshire’s already-expansive firearm preemption law, and HB 195, which would encourage the reckless brandishing of firearms by eliminating criminal consequences for doing so. The bills now move to the Senate.
“It’s clear that lawmakers’ relationships with the gun lobby are more important than their constituents in the Granite State,” said Deidre Reynolds, a volunteer with the New Hampshire chapter of Moms Demand Action. “New Hampshire is not immune from our nation’s gun violence public health crisis. We know that these laws will not make our state safer, and we will continue to fight tooth and nail to defeat them.”
HB 307 would add new punitive measures designed to intimidate and punish localities interested in saving lives and meeting the individual needs of their communities by enacting common-sense gun regulations. The bill also endangers children and young adults in the Granite State by explicitly pulling schools and school districts into the preemption law, which would prohibit them from taking any action to regulate firearms, including prohibiting guns in schools and on school grounds. Research shows that guns in schools and on college campuses don’t prevent gun violence — instead they make students less safe. HB 195 would encourage the open display and brandishing of firearms. Research shows that visible guns have been found to make people more aggressive and would make it more likely that disagreements will turn into violent conflicts.
CACR 8, a proposal to vote on a constitutional amendment to nullify federal gun safety laws, was also voted on yesterday but failed to pass the House. Had it been added to the ballot and approved, the constitutional amendment would have prevented state and local authorities, including law enforcement officials and courts from protecting their communities from gun violence and encouraged extremists to defy the federal laws that regulate firearms.
This session, lawmakers are also pushing a slew of other dangerous bills including to expand the state’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law. Last session, Governor Christopher Sununu vetoed proven life-saving gun safety laws after saying in a statement that “New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the nation” and that gun laws are already sufficient, yet his party continues to push these extreme and reckless gun bills this session.
In the last decade, gun violence in the state has increased 30 percent, compared to a 17 percent increase nationwide. And the gun suicide rate in New Hampshire increased 26 percent during the same time. The high rate of gun violence in the state also costs $933.9 million each year, of which $17.6 million is paid by taxpayers. Lawmakers should be focused on gun safety legislation such as an extreme risk law, closing background check loopholes, and requiring a waiting period, which are all proven to reduce gun suicide and gun violence. The bills were passed last session, but callously vetoed by Governor Sununu at the end of session.
Additional information on gun violence in New Hampshire is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how New Hampshire’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.