Let schools ban guns?
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
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.
- 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.