Bill package would have created gun-free school zones, background checks, and established waiting periods
Veto comes at a time Americans are more outraged than ever at the ongoing gun violence epidemic
Washington, DC — Giffords, the gun safety organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, denounced Governor Sununu for vetoing a package of gun safety bills, passed by the legislature days after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, that were aimed to keep New Hampshire residents safe from gun violence. HB 564, would have created gun-free zones on school campuses and HB 109 and HB 514 would have required background checks on all commercial gun sales and impose a waiting period between the purchase of a gun and the delivery.
“Americans have had enough, no public place feels safe from the threat of a shooting and they are demanding stronger laws to stop these tragedies. Governor Sununu chose to ignore these calls and turn his back on New Hampshire residents by vetoing these lifesaving bills,” said Molly Voigt, State Legislative Manager at Giffords. “The Governor cares more about protecting the interests of gun lobbyists than protecting the safety of students and families. His rejection only motivates gun safety advocates to keep fighting to create a state where gun violence in our schools, communities, and workplaces is no longer a threat.”
Governor Sununu’s veto comes in the wake of the four mass shootings that took the lives of 31 people and left even more injured. Soon after educators, parents, students, government officials, and community members gathered at the State House to demand Governor Sununu take action.
HB 564 would have helped to reduce the number of guns on school campuses by allowing school boards to adopt and develop policies regulating firearms on public school campuses. A blog from Giffords Law Center found that there have been more than 70 cases of firearms being mishandled by trusted adults on school campuses. HB 514 could have helped combat suicide rates in New Hampshire by imposing a waiting period on online gun sales.
HB 109 would have helped close the gun show loophole and limit the abilities of dangerous individuals – like domestic abusers, people with violent criminal records, and those prohibited due to mental health reasons – to obtain a firearm.
A report by Giffords Law Center finds the $208 million in directly measurable costs exacts a substantial toll on New Hampshire’s economy. These costs include:
Healthcare costs: $8 million
Law enforcement and criminal justice expenses: $5 million
Costs to employers: $1 million
Lost income: $194 million
A large portion of this tab is picked up by the public. Up to 85% of gunshot victims, for example, are either uninsured or on some form of publicly-funded insurance. Additionally, law enforcement efforts are funded entirely by taxpayer dollars. As a result, the direct annual cost of gun violence in New Hampshire is approximately $208 million.
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence recently released the latest edition of its Annual Gun Law Scorecard, which grades and ranks each state on its gun laws, and found that New Hampshire received an “F.” New Hampshire further weakened its poor gun laws in 2018 by repealing its prohibition on carrying firearms in vehicles. Currently, the state does not require a permit to carry concealed guns in public, nor does it require background checks at gun shows, online, or in private sales. New Hampshire could raise its F grade by instituting background checks.