NH Senate defeats bill to ban guns in schools

FILE - New Hampshire kicks off a weeklong bicentennial celebration for its Statehouse, June 2, 2019, in Concord, with cake, building tours and reenactments of the first Legislative session. The granite building is the oldest state capitol in which both houses of the Legislature meet in their original chambers. Without debate, the House on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would require the state to proceed as a sovereign nation if the...

FILE - New Hampshire kicks off a weeklong bicentennial celebration for its Statehouse, June 2, 2019, in Concord, with cake, building tours and reenactments of the first Legislative session. The granite building is the oldest state capitol in which both houses of the Legislature meet in their original chambers. Without debate, the House on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would require the state to proceed as a sovereign nation if the... Holly Ramer

By RICK GREEN

The Keene Sentinel

Published: 04-12-2024 10:30 AM

The N.H. Senate on Thursday rejected, 14-9, a bill from Keene Sen. Donovan Fenton to prohibit people from carrying guns on school property.

All the Democrats present voted in favor of Senate Bill 593, and all the Republicans voted against it.

Fenton, a Democrat, told his fellow senators that the bill was “pivotal for ensuring the safety and security of our schools and communities.”

Current state law forbids only students from bringing a gun to school.

“This legislation is essential for identifying potential threats,” Fenton said.

“Currently adults can enter a school with firearms undetected, placing educators and students in perilous situations. Should the teachers initiate lockdowns upon spotting an armed individual, or risk ignoring a potential threat capable of inflicting mass harm?”

The bill would not have applied to law enforcement officers, school resource officers, on-duty members of the military and people specially authorized by a local school board to have a gun on campus.

Sen. Daryl Abbas, R-Salem, said the bill would put restrictions on gun rights of law-abiding citizens while not deterring other people from bringing guns to schools or increasing safety.

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“How does this prevent someone from coming to a school and causing harm?” he asked.

Schools already prevent people from coming inside without authorization, Abbas said.

“If someone is allowed into the building, that’s when the threat assessment should be made." 

This is among several pieces of legislation on guns the Republican-controlled Senate has rejected this year, including bills to require background checks for private sales, a 72-hour waiting period between purchase and delivery of a gun, and a “red-flag law” intended to keep firearms out of the hands of people experiencing an emotional crisis.