MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Friday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined with Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and local volunteers of Mom Demands Action at Manchester City Hall to discuss gun violence prevention and the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
The legislation, which was signed into law on June 25, creates a $750 million fund for states to help courts keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those who are determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others. The new law also provides $250 million for community-based violence prevention initiatives, a more thorough background check for gun purchasers under the age of 21 and penalties for people that purchase guns for convicted felons.
However, the implementation of that law in New Hampshire remains unclear following the passage of HB 1178 in Concord and a recent Supreme Court decision that struck down a concealed-carry firearms law in New York State.
Still, Shaheen felt optimistic given that 15 Republican senators voted for the bill, one of the first gun control measures passed by Congress in decades.
During the conversation, Shaheen and others agreed that opponents of the measure must be challenged when they attempt to frame the new law and other initiatives aimed at preventing future mass shootings as attacks on Second Amendment rights.
“This shouldn’t be about if you’re pro-gun or anti-gun, this should be about what common-sense gun safety measures we can all agree upon,” she said.
Volunteers from the group such as State Representative Amy Bradley (D-Manchester), voiced frustration with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s signing into law of HB 1178 and lack of his support on advancing other initiatives to prevent potential mass shootings in New Hampshire.
Members of the group also voiced frustration with state’s new “divisive concepts” law and the chilling effect that has placed on educating children about gun safety in schools, with discussion participant Marcella Dube hoping that the Be Smart program can eventually join other initiatives such as D.A.R.E. as a standardized approach to teach kids about gun safety.
Craig said that with or without the support of state and federal assistance, she is working with Manchester Police Department Chief Allen Aldenberg to institute evidence-based community initiatives aimed at lowering gun violence in Manchester and Aldenberg is working with Manchester School Department Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Gillis to plan against potential active shooter attacks at Manchester’s public schools.
“We have to keep on going because this is the right thing to do, we need to ensure that people feel safe in our communities,” said Craig.