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New Hampshire House Fails To Pass Life-Saving Gun Safety Bills, Including Requiring Background Checks and Keeping Guns out of Schools

March 9, 2023

The New Hampshire chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement on the New Hampshire’s House failure to pass several gun safety bills, including requiring background checks, extreme risk protection orders, and keeping guns out of schools. 

“Our lawmakers have chosen to make our communities more vulnerable to gun violence by appealing to the gun lobby who puts profits over people,” said Marcella Dube, a volunteer with the New Hampshire chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are disappointed that the legislature has, once again, failed to pass fundamental gun safety laws — but we remain committed to pushing forward to ensure that our kids and communities are safe from gun violence.” 

The House has yet to vote on one remaining gun safety bill, HB 351, which would strengthen New Hampshire’s existing child access prevention (CAP) law, and require that all gun sales be accompanied with a locking device or safe. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in America. Meanwhile, the House is also still considering HB512 — a dangerous bill which would exempt any guns manufactured in New Hampshire, whether by a large manufacturer or Do-it-Yourself firearms, from all federal laws. Both measures must receive a vote before the crossover deadline at the end of this month.

The following gun safety bills were not passed by the House of Representatives: 

  • HB32 – which would prohibit guns in schools or on school grounds. From 2013 through 2021, there were at least 848 incidents of gunfire on school grounds. Of these incidents, 573 occurred on the grounds of a preschool, elementary, middle, or high school, resulting in 188 deaths and 392 people wounded. The vast majority of states – 47 of them – and the District of Columbia prohibit carrying or possessing a firearm on K-12 school property or events. Only Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Wyoming do not.
  • HB59 — which would require background checks on all gun sales, closing a dangerous loophole that allows individuals who are prohibited by law from having guns to purchase them with no background check and no questions asked.New Hampshire currently has no state laws requiring background checks on gun sales.Because the only requirement is the one created by federal law, prohibited people can avoid a background check by buying guns from unlicensed sellers, including those they find online or at gun shows. 
  • HB106 – which would make Extreme Risk Protective Orders available in New Hampshire. These lifesaving orders temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms if a civil court judge finds that they pose a significant danger of using firearms to harm themselves or others. This bill passed both chambers last year, however was vetoed by  Governor Chris Sununo. These orders have helped prevent gun violence tragedies, like mass shootings and gun suicides, which are often preceded by red flags–warning signs like threats and other dangerous behavior. This life-saving tool can help prevent warning signs from escalating into tragedy. Nearly 90 percent of gun deaths in New Hampshire are by firearm suicide. 
  • HB78 — which would invalidate federal firearm laws and would make it illegal for any public officer or employee of the state, including state and local law enforcement officers, to assist with the enforcement of federal gun laws that help keep the people of New Hampshire safe. 

In an average year in New Hampshire, 141 people die by guns. Gun violence costs New Hampshire $2.2 billion each year, of which $22.4 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in New Hampshire is available here.

To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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