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Gun violence prevention backers ask Sununu, lawmakers to act | News | #schoolsaftey

CONCORD – Today, students, parents, and teachers held a press conference at the State House to demand that this back-to-school season, state leaders commit to action to solve the largely preventable problem of gun violence in the classroom.

“We can’t turn on the news without fear of a school shooting or another act of gun violence sending a message to our children that they are not safe. In New Hampshire, there is no state gun free school law, and the lack of strong public safety laws around background checks, waiting periods, extreme risk protection orders, gun free schools, and safe storage fall far short of what we need,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress. “Earlier this year, the state legislature rejected several bills that would have strengthened gun violence prevention, and Governor Chris Sununu and Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut were right there with them blocking progress to protect our schools and communities. We demand more for our children, and for our futures.”

“We want to build good classroom communities where we can all learn together, where everyone feels they belong, and where everyone feels safe,” said Deborah Howes, President of American Federation of Teachers – New Hampshire. “What we don’t want to be doing is worrying about the next headline of a shooting on a campus or in a classroom, somewhere in the country, hopefully not here in New Hampshire. Research shows that active shooter drills traumatize students…..and make them less likely to come back to school, see school as a safe place, and learn in school.”

“Our teachers need to be able to teach in a safe environment, free from the threat of gun violence that rocks our nation,” said Megan Tuttle, president of the National Education Association – New Hampshire. “Our students need to be able to learn in safe environments, without the distraction and stress of active shooter drills, and without watching the count on the number of school or community shootings tick up. We call on Governor Sununu, Commissioner Edelblut, and the members of the New Hampshire state legislature to join us in taking urgent action to address gun violence.”

“Students should be able to go to school ready to learn and socialize; they shouldn’t have to think and worry about where they should hide or escape in the chance that someone enters their building and starts shooting up their school,” said Dante Castellano, a Senior at Nashua High School South and a member of the GunSense NH Youth Advisory Board. “Lockdown drills are now common occurrences for students of all ages, and while it is good to be prepared for bad situations, it would certainly be better if we didn’t have to worry about things like this and could just focus on core education and typical school activities.”

“Last session our lawmakers failed to pass a single gun safety measure as we continue to fall behind our New England counterparts and neglect to address this crisis,” said Marcella Dube of Moms Demand Action. “The uniquely American epidemic of gun violence in schools is a preventable tragedy, but for far too long, many of our so-called leaders have only offered thoughts and prayers. We’re here today to say that’s not enough, we need action now. Our kids should be looking forward to class, not looking for the nearest exit. We must do more to keep our kids, teachers and other school staff safe from gun violence.”

Gun violence is the number one leading cause of death for children and teens in America, and a largely preventable one. As back to school season rolls around, so do fears over school shootings, especially in light of credible school shooting threats in New Hampshire over the last year.

According to Education Week, there have been 25 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or deaths. Across the country, there have been more than 420 mass shootings in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

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