CITIZEN VOICES®
Statewide ban on guns in schools?

Jan 29, 2019

Current federal law designates schools as “gun-free zones” meaning only licensed adults can bring guns onto school grounds.  While New Hampshire prohibits students from bringing guns to school, it does not further regulate licensed adults bringing guns onto school property. 

HB 564, sponsored by Representative Mary Heath (D), would prohibit all firearms in school safe zones.  Anyone found to be in violation would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.   The proposed bill allows for the following exceptions: persons dropping off or picking up a student provided the firearm is in a vehicle and properly secured, a person duly authorized in writing by the school board to possess a firearm, or a law enforcement officer, trained resource officer, or member of the armed services.  

While HB 564 would give the state the sole authority to regulate guns, another bill being considered in 2019, HB 101, would give the power to regulate firearms in safe school zones to the local school districts. 

Pros and cons of HB 564

Supporters of prohibiting guns in school safe zones altogether express concern about armed parents in disputes with other parents and teachers, and note that armed citizens can cause confusion for law enforcement if there is ever an active shooter.  There are also those who believe that guns have no place on school grounds.  

Banning firearms on school grounds would also ban firearms from the voting booth, whenever the polls are located on school grounds; some voters and poll workers feel intimidated by armed voters. 

Opponents of the proposed law say an armed adult serves as a deterrent to those who would wish to do harm and worry that banning guns would leave schools vulnerable in the case of violent acts.  They feel that the bill imposes unnecessary restrictions on lawful gun owners.

Other opponents argue that the decision should be left to local school districts.

Should New Hampshire prohibit guns in all safe school zones?

Discussion held on Citizens Count website and Facebook page January 29, 2019

349 citizens responded311 citizens were opposed to a statewide safe school zone gun ban25 citizens were in favor of a statewide safe school zone gun ban.13 citizens commented on related questions or issues

What Participants Said

No: 311 people were opposed to banning guns in safe school zones. 

  • “No. NH schools should never be designated gun-free zones. Aside from the violation of Constitutional rights, it only serves to set our children up to become victims. Over 90% of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. Why would you want to create such a place for your children? We should be arming and training our teachers, so that they can, as first responders in such situations, keep our children, our future, safe.” 
  • “Licensed concealed carry holders are not the ones committing crimes. Criminals don’t care about your gun free zones. This is another law attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, meanwhile trampling the rights of law abiding gun owners.” 
  • “When was the last time a concealed carry permit holder shot up a school?” 

Yes: 25 people were in favor of banning guns in safe school zones.

  • “I am a NH resident, gun owner and teacher and I support this bill.”  
  • “Sensible, responsible gun control. No gun should be allowed on school property, unless, as stated, the person carrying is a law enforcement officer. I can't believe after all the kids that have been killed this discussion continues. 
  • “Absolutely schools should be gun free zones for both Students [and] all adults. Schools = gun free, period.”  

Other: 13 people commented on related questions and issues instead.
These included:

  • Depends who is carrying the gun: “I see a lot of guns at courthouses and airports. Most guards and police officers carry them.” 
  • Some gun owners aren’t sure: “I'm conflicted and I carry everywhere…”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

See additional comments on this question from Facebook

Comments

Francis Murzyn
- Merrimack

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 9:52am

Gun Free Zones = Criminal Safe Zone. Why has over 95% of the mass shootings over the past 15-20 years been in "gun free zones"? They do work....for the criminal. NH is one of the safest states......politicians who propose this type of bill are chasing shadows. Some say people are intimidated.....how, concealed carry is just that, concealed. Again chasing shadows. If people feel so unconformable with the unknown, maybe move to MA...they may have laws to fit your lifestyle a little better. You have the freedom, do not infringe on mine.

Nicole Gonet
- Brentwood

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 10:33pm

Gun free zones are target areas for mass shootings. Why? Because no one is there armed to fight back. I am a NH resident, my son attends 5th grade here and i would fight this at every turn.

Zee Jenkowitz
- Auburn

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 10:19pm

No, of course not.

As a NH resident, I value being able to protect my family (and others) wherever I go. Creating these criminal empowerment zones seems backwards and frankly stupid. NH is one of the safest place on the planet. We didn't get that way by limiting our freedom.

Amanda Morasse
- Center Barnstead

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 9:50pm

No, we need to protect our children and arm more teachers.

Amanda Morasse
- Center Barnstead

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 9:55pm

Also we should bring back Firearm Saftey classes in our schools. The more taught of common sense and responsibility around firearms, would perhaps bring about far less violence! Never had any issues when we went to school with our rifles in gun racks in our vehicle.

Walter Royal
- Bradford

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 7:01pm

No. NH is one of the safest places in the US and in the world. We are this way because we have the freedom to defend ourselves anywhere in the state and criminals don't know who has a gun at any place they may want to commit a crime. If we allow gun free zones to exist the guns that show up in them will be brought there by people who are intent on committing murder.

Angela Friborg, Ed.D.
- Bow

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 6:26pm

No. NH schools should never be designated gun-free zones. Aside from the violation of Constitutional rights, it only serves to set our children up to be come victims. Over 90% of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. Why would you want to create such a place for your children? We should be arming and training our teachers, so that they can, as first responders in such situations, keep our children, our future, safe.
Dr. Friborg.

Justin Hale
- Berlin

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 6:04pm

How are students supposed to learn gun safety if firearms are prohibited?

Justin Hale
- Berlin

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 6:01pm

This not only makes defense of the innocent less likely to be effective, it does so in a way that singles out the most vulnerable. Children are forced to be there, and they cannot be said to have given consent when young. Adult students are directly deprived of liberty, a bit like demanding a prayer free zone, or a speech free zone. The whole premise is wrong.

Ben Harrison
- Londonderry

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 5:13pm

#no #nhresident you are already licensed. Licensed concealed carry holders are not the ones committing crimes. Criminals don’t care about your gun free zones. This is another law attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, meanwhile trampling the rights of law abiding gun owners.

Pages

Related Bill

HB 564 (2019)
Bill Status: Passed House
Hearing date: Apr 30, 2019

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