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New Hampshire Senate Fails to Pass Life-Saving Gun Violence Prevention Laws Including Waiting Periods and Requiring Background Checks; Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Respond

February 15, 2024

CONCORD, NH – 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 condemning the New Hampshire’s Senate failure to pass several critical pieces of gun safety legislation. These measures included requiring a full background check for all firearm sales between private individuals, instituting a 72-hour waiting period before a person can take possession of a firearm after purchasing it, and establishing a “Red Flag” law to keep guns out of the hands of those in crisis. 

“These are common sense gun violence prevention measures that we have spent the last several years advocating for, and yet again our lawmakers have refused to put our safety ahead of the gun lobby,” said Kathleen Slover, a volunteer with the New Hampshire chapter of Moms Demand Action. “With almost ninety percent of gun deaths in New Hampshire being due to firearm suicide, our lawmakers should be taking every step possible to prevent these sensless tragedies. The 2024 elections are less than a year away and the gun violence prevention movement is stronger than ever and we are prepared to vote in lawmakers who will make our safety their first priority.”  

An overview of the legislation that failed to pass the Senate today:

  • SB 360 – This bill 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 – This bill 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 – This bill 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. 

In an average year, 141 people die by guns and another 133 are wounded. Gun violence costs New Hampshire $2.2 billion each year, of which $22.4 million is paid by taxpayers.  88% of gun deaths are suicides in New Hampshire. More information about gun violence in New Hampshire is available here

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