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N.H. Senate Passes Three Gun-Related Bills

Dan Tuohy
Senator Martha Hennessy speaks in support of the three gun-related bills.

Democrats in the state Senate passed three bills Thursday they contend will reduce gun violence in New Hampshire.


The first bill would implement mandatory background checks on nearly all sales. An exemption is made for transfers of weapons between immediate family members. The second bill would impose a three-day waiting period on commercial gun purchases.


The third measure would ban guns on school campuses. Police officers, school resource officers and individuals approved by the district’s school boards would be the only exceptions. An amendment to the bill says that schools must hold public forums designed to gauge student feedback before granting special gun-carrying permission.


Senators approved each measure by a 13-10 party-line vote.


Senator Martha Hennessey, a Democrat from Hanover, was a sponsor on the background check bill. She told colleagues it's a reasonable step.


“Instituting these requirements strikes a reasonable balance between protecting public safety and Second Amendment rights,” said Hennessey. “This bill will not stop every tragedy involving a gun, but it will help prevent needless suffering inflicted on our citizens.”


Republicans say the bills are alarmist, given New Hampshire’s low homicide rates. They also argue the measures violate the Constitution.


Senator Sharon Carson, a Republican from Londonderry, says these measures will do little to curtail crime.


“Look, I understand and I agree that we should keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and people that are going to do bad things,” said Carson. “But please remember the people that are not obeying the law, they’re not going to obey this.”  


All three bills could face vetoes from Governor Chris Sununu.

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