May 23, 2019
Contact Name: Sara Persechino
Phone: (603) 271-3479
CONCORD— Today, the New Hampshire Senate passed three efforts aimed at increasing gun violence prevention efforts in the state. The Senate voted: 13-10 in support of HB 109-FN, requiring background checks for commercial firearms sales; 13-10 in support of HB 514-FN, imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm; and 13-10 in support of HB 564, relative to possession of firearms on school property.
HB 109 creates a universal background check that requires all transfers of firearm ownership be subject to a criminal background check, and closes the Charleston loophole by requiring a clean background check before a gun is provided to a prospective purchaser. HB 514 creates a three-day waiting period before a firearm may be delivered to a purchaser. HB 564 allows school boards to develop their own policy regulating the possession of firearms on public school property, and that any proposed policy change shall involve at least one public hearing designed to solicit the input of students.
After the votes, Senator Martha Hennessey (D-Hanover), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement:
“With homicides on the rise, including with firearms, it’s now more important than ever that we pass common sense gun violence prevention legislation. Today’s Senate votes move New Hampshire forward on common-sense gun reform that strikes a reasonable balance between protecting public safety and second amendment rights.
The New Hampshire Department of Safety estimates that loopholes in our current law allow four out of ten firearm sales to be conducted without a background check. Further, each year over 3,000 people receive firearms without a background check because of a loophole in federal law which allows dealers to deliver a gun to the purchaser after three business days even if the background check is still pending. HB 109 closes that loophole. While it will not stop every tragedy involving a gun, it will help prevent needless suffering inflicted upon our citizens.
In New Hampshire, the suicide rate is skyrocketing—increasing by almost fifty percent in the past decade. It is imperative that the Legislature consider all options to address this crisis. HB 514-FN will protect public safety by creating a buffer between impulse and action. Waiting periods like this one provide a “cooling off” period to help people guard against reckless acts of violence and have been found to be associated with lower rates of suicide.
Additionally, today the Senate passed HB 564, which as amended will give local school districts the ability to determine how each wishes to regulate the possession of firearms on their school property.”