Gun control legislation passes New Hampshire Senate
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Three bills aimed at preventing gun violence have cleared the state Senate.
The Senate on Thursday passed bills imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm, requiring background checks for commercial gun sales, and enabling school boards to declare gun-free zones on school property. While all three bills previously passed the House, the Senate made changes to each and sent them back to the House.
“With homicides on the rise, including with firearms, it’s now more important than ever that we pass common-sense gun violence prevention legislation,” Sen. Martha Hennessey, D-Hanover, said in a statement. “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 first bill would create a three-day waiting period before a gun could be delivered to a buyer, in contrast to the House version, which called for a seven-day waiting period. Opponents called it an attack on gun shows and auctions, but supporters said creating a buffer between impulse and action could prevent violence and suicide.
Under the background check bill, all transfers of gun ownership will be subject to criminal background checks. The legislation also would close the so-called Charleston loophole used by the shooter in a 2015 massacre at a historic black church to buy a gun. The gun-free zone bill would allow individual school boards to develop policies regulating the possession of guns on public school property. Any proposed policy change would have to be presented at a public hearing to get input from students.
Opponents of gun-free school zones argue they would criminalize the behavior of otherwise law-abiding citizens and would embolden would-be school shooters because they would know teachers wouldn’t be trying to stop them.