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New Hampshire Lawmakers Adjourn 2024 Legislative Session Without Making Any Progress Towards Gun Safety; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond 

July 1, 2024

Legislative Session Ends After Several Lifesaving Gun Safety Measures Failed to Pass in Both Chambers of the Legislature 

New Hampshire Remains the Only State in New England That Does Not Require Background Checks on Private Firearm Sales 

CONCORD, N.H. — Volunteers with the New Hampshire chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after the New Hampshire legislature adjourned their 2024 legislative session on Friday without passing any of the lifesaving gun safety measures that were debated this year. Instead, lawmakers advanced the gun lobby’s “guns everywhere” agenda by passing a dangerous bill (HB 1336) that would force employers to allow their employees to keep guns in their cars while at work. Gun safety advocates are urging Governor Chris Sununu to veto the bill once it gets to his desk. 

“Our lawmakers couldn’t pass even one lifesaving gun safety measure this year despite the tireless advocacy efforts of volunteers like myself – and now our communities will be left vulnerable to gun violence for another year,” said Deidre Reynolds, a volunteer with the New Hampshire chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Instead, they passed a bill that will only put our communities in more danger by leaving loaded firearms in cars where they can get stolen and end up in the wrong hands. We’re urging Governor Sununu to veto this dangerous bill once it gets to his desk and finally put our safety over the gun lobby.” 

“Lawmakers are actively choosing to let New Hampshire remain vulnerable to gun violence,” said Erin DeSantis, a member of the Students Demand Action National Organizing Board. “When they fail to pass gun safety laws, it’s Granite Staters who suffer the consequences. Compared to other states in the region, New Hampshire has, by far, the weakest gun laws and yet our lawmakers are only making them weaker. Governor Sununu must veto this misguided legislation.” 

HB 1336 is a dangerous piece of legislation that would prohibit businesses that receive public funding of any kind from banning employees from keeping guns in their cars while at work – regardless of their own workplace safety policies. As a result, employees will be allowed to leave a loaded firearm in their car while they are at work, without requiring that the firearm be securely stored. Earlier this year, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund released a report highlighting a sharp increase in the number of firearms being stolen from cars across the United States – in fact, the nationwide rate of gun thefts from cars is triple what it was a decade ago. Data shows that the majority of gun homicides and assaults involve stolen or illegal guns, which makes it especially critical that this measure be vetoed by Governor Sununu to prevent gun violence in New Hampshire. 

Meanwhile, lawmakers failed to pass several meaningful bills that would have protected Granite Staters from gun violence, including: 

  • HB 1711, which would have ensured disqualifying mental health records were reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This provision was later included in SB 476, a bill that would have put $40 million toward a new prison, which the Senate later failed to pass as a result. New Hampshire remains one of only three states that does not provide records of psychiatric hospitalization commitments for gun background checks. 
  • SB 360, which would have established a“Red Flag” law, which would make extreme risk protection orders available in New Hampshire. These orders are life-saving tools to allow law enforcement, family, or household members to petition a court to temporarily restrict access to firearms by a person at risk of harming themselves or others. A bill to establish ERPOs was also defeated in the New Hampshire House last year.  
  • SB 571, which would have required background checks on all private 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. A bill to require background checks was also defeated in the New Hampshire House last year. 
  • SB 577, which would have instituted a 72-hour waiting period before a person can take possession of a firearm after purchasing it, with exceptions for trained hunters and those in immediate fear of their safety. Waiting period laws are associated with reduced suicide rates because this time creates a critical buffer between someone having a suicidal crisis and having access to a gun. 

New Hampshire has weak firearms laws compared to most other neighboring states, ranking 39th in the country for the strength of its gun laws. In fact, after Maine enacted background checks into law earlier this year, New Hampshire remains the only state in New England that does not address the federal background check loophole by requiring background checks prior to any private firearm sales, including sales arranged online or at gun shows. 

With the 2024 elections only a few months away, gun safety voters in New Hampshire and across the country are fired up and ready to vote for candidates who will put their public safety ahead of the gun lobby. As the Virginia elections demonstrated in 2023 – voters are making it clear that they want their leaders to enact and strengthen gun safety laws, which is why they voted in gun sense majorities to both chambers of the legislature. 

In an average year, 144 people die by guns and another 47 are wounded. 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.

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