N.H. House Passes Bill That Would Allow For Gun-Free School Zones

Feb 27, 2019

Credit Associated Press

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that Rep. Mark Vallone spoke in support of the bill, not against it. 

The New Hampshire House approved a bill Wednesday that aims to restrict guns in schools. The measure forbids carrying a firearm in so-called school safe zones which includes school property.

Earlier this month the bill was the subject of heated testimony and the debate Wednesday on the House floor was no different.

Representative Mark Vallone spoke in support of the bill, both as a gun owner and a former school principal who greeted parents every morning.

"We had some tough situations where people were going through crisis - mental health and substance abuse. We all know about that today. And the fact that they were carrying was something else that was really bothersome to me."

Several lawmakers, including Jack Flanagan of Brookline said that forbidding firearms in school zones would leave parents defenseless in the event of a school shooting.

"If I have a gun, and I'm picking up a child at school, and I hear gunshots in the school... Do I then not go into the school to defend the children with my legally-owned gun?"

The New Hampshire School Boards Association has said it would not support the legislation based on feedback from its members.

The bill passed the house with a vote of 194 to 154 along party lines, with Democrats largely in favor.