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Marchand Gun Platform Stokes Debate on 2nd Amendment

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Lauren Chooljian / NHPR
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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand laid out his plan to curb gun violence Tuesday, and his announcement in Lebanon inspired an impromptu public debate about the 2nd Amendment.

Marchand is the only Democrat so far in the race against incumbent Republican Governor Chris Sununu.

His announcement started out like any other campaign press conference. He stood on the steps of Lebanon City Hall in front of reporters and ticked through measures he supports, like universal background checks and banning military-style semi-automatic weapons.

Marchand said he chose Lebanon as the backdrop for his announcement as it's one of a handful of New Hampshire towns that have recently tried to make its own gun regulations. State law prohibits small municipalities from doing that, but Marchand thinks the law should be changed.

“It’s about mitigating risk in a way that respects the 2nd Amendment and looks at data about things that work,” Marchand said.

But it wasn’t just reporters in the audience for Marchand’s announcement. Surrounding the City Hall steps were just over a dozen people on both sides of the gun control debate. And when Marchand got to the question-and-answer portion of the event, it was pro-gun advocates who shot their hands in the air, asking questions about metal detectors in school and mental health.

Some protestors later said they came to the event as a way to defend their 2nd Amendment rights. They said they were encouraged to attend by a local conservative radio host.

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