CITIZEN VOICES®
Let schools ban guns?

Jan 18, 2019

In New Hampshire, the power to regulate firearms lies with the state Legislature. No city, town, or other body can pass laws more strictly regulating guns.

A proposed law in the 2019 legislative session would change that power as it relates to schools. HB 101 allows local school districts to decide whether guns should be allowed on the premises.

Are guns currently allowed in NH schools?

Federal law designates schools as “gun-free zones,” which means that only licensed adults (who are not students) can bring guns onto school grounds. 

New Hampshire state law regarding “safe school zones” (any school property or school bus) likewise prohibits students from bringing guns to school, and requires that any pupil who does so – concealed or otherwise – without written authorization from the superintendent be expelled from school by the local school board for at least 12 months.

However, New Hampshire law doesn’t place any additional restrictions on whether licensed adults can carry firearms on school property.

Should schools have more power?

Supporters of HB 101 say it should be up to local districts to decide whether they want to allow guns in schools, as this puts more power back in the hands of local communities. Some districts might want to prohibit firearms altogether as an added layer of protection against school shootings, others may feel guns have no place on school grounds.

Opponents say that current laws restricting carrying in schools to only permitted individuals are sufficient. Others worry that allowing school districts to potentially ban guns in schools altogether would make them more vulnerable to acts of violence, since staff and other law-abiding citizens would lack the means to defend themselves.

Should local schools and school districts have control over who can bring guns onto their grounds?

Discussion held on Citizens Count website and Facebook page January 2, 2019

274 citizens responded189 citizens were opposed to school control of guns on grounds16 citizens were in favor of school control of guns on grounds69 citizens commented on related questions or issues

What Participants Said

No: 189 people were opposed to giving schools and school districts control over who can bring guns onto their grounds.

  • “Leave the law/statute as it stands. This seems like a solution looking for a problem that does not exist.”
  • “No, and no government entity should restrict the bearing of arms. It would violate natural rights, the US Constitution, and the NH Constitution.”
  • “Gun free zones are big red flags that tell criminals there will be no resistance, inviting crime. If a teacher or school employee is legally able to carry, then they should be able to carry. No better deterrent to crime than a person carrying concealed onsite.”

Yes: 16 people were in favor of giving schools and school districts control over who can bring guns onto their grounds.

  • “I believe localities know best how to keep their schools safe.”
  • “Yes, it should be regulated by the school districts.”
  • “Guns have no place in our schools.”

Other: 69 citizens addressed their comments to related questions and issues.
These included:

  • Clarifying current policy: “It would require a change in the law. Currently municipalities cannot make gun restrictions.”
  • Questioning effectiveness: “And how exactly do you propose to get criminals to abide by this new law? Honest question...”
  • School shooters: “I don’t really have an opinion on the gun debate per se, but I would say they only reason NH hasn’t had a school shooting is luck and the grace of God. School shooters will not be deterred by whether those in the building are or aren’t allowed to have guns. Likewise, they’re not going to care about local/state/federal laws. These are deranged people.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

Comments

Chuck Malias
- Manchester

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 3:58pm

But would you feel the same if the state law *prohibited* licensed individuals from carrying guns on school property? I don't want guns anywhere near my school unless the weapon belongs to a trained police officer. These deranged school shooters carry out their actions fully prepared to die - whether at the hands of an officer or someone else. The notion that someone in the school might be armed does little to deter.

Going back to the original question - I think these laws should be established at the state level. If it means that much to a district, elect a rep or senator who will push that agenda.

Richard Olson
- MANCHESTER

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 6:28pm

First, NH has had no instance of an active Shooter. None. Second, your ideas about mass shooters are ill-conceived. I had the privilege of attending a 3-hour presentation given by retired Col. Dan Barden of the CT State Police, who was the OIC during the Newtown/Sandyhook Shooting. Mass shootings are generally over in 2-3 minutes or less. If a mass shooter comes through the door and has to face an armed person, Be it a police officer or citizen, that is part of the equation the mass shooter had likely not contemplated. Nevertheless, that shooter now has to deal with that armed citizen. Note, that when you see a SWAT team enter a building, they have body armor, they are in a stack, have shields and helmets.. All against one guy with a pistol. Don't continue to be misguided into thinking that one private citizen, properly trained and armed with a gun cannot stop a mass shooting. It has happened, but you won't read about it in the media. First, it doesn't fit their narrative and second, not enough people die to make it a national story.

John Partridge
- Woodstock

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 7:42am

I'm as a New Hampshire resident, do not support giving that authority to the towns, municipalities, schools, or any other governing body. The statewide law on firearms in schools is sufficient. It allows licensed individuals to carry which creatrs a deterrent for those who seek to cause harm. If that protection is removed then it will only serve to make the students and staff an easier target for the bad guys.

Chris Balch
- Wilton

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 8:51am

Allowing individual municipalities or districts within a state to originate and enforce their own firearms legislation leads to unavoidable conflicts - what is allowed in one area will get you locked up when crossing a border into another. It becomes very difficult for those who wish to obey the law to keep track of the law. Also, criminals seeking to do harm are not going to obey any legislation simply because it exists. I am in favor of schools remaining 'gun-free' zones as mandated by federal and state law, and could support any changes in laws only at the state level.

Related Bill

HB 101 (2019)
Bill Status: Tabled in the House
Hearing date: Feb 13, 2019

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