NH gun-safety advocates advise services, bipartisan laws after deadly shootings
Monday, December 4, 2023
Gun-safety advocates in New Hampshire are urging Gov. Chris Sununu to back policies proven to reduce gun violence following a series of deadly shootings in the state.
Advocates will gather this week to set legislative priorities for the upcoming session, including efforts to close background-check loopholes and enforce extreme risk-protection orders.
Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress, said no community is immune to gun violence.
"They're not immune in Lewiston, Maine, they're not immune in Concord, New Hampshire," Rice Hawkins asserted. "Unless we wrap our arms around this and really work together for more policy solutions, we're going to continue to have more loss."
Rice Hawkins pointed out lawmakers could also enact gun-free school zones in New Hampshire, a state currently blocking the enforcement of federal firearms laws.
Gun safety advocates said many of their proposals, including extended waiting periods between the purchase and delivery of a firearm and increased access to mental health services are both popular and bipartisan.
Rep. David Meuse, D-Portsmouth, argued mental health services must be combined with stronger gun laws to prevent both mass shootings and firearm-related suicides.
"One of the things I'm hoping that mental health can be kind of a point of agreement," Meuse explained. "And maybe a starting point for agreement on some other things down the road."
Meuse added the New Hampshire Hospital shooter was once involuntarily committed, which should have made him ineligible to purchase a firearm, yet New Hampshire is one of just three states not reporting such information to databases used in background checks for firearms purchases.
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