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Monday, June 24, 2024

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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

After NH Hospital shooting, bipartisan bill aims to prevent repeat tragedy

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Monday, May 13, 2024   

The New Hampshire Senate will vote this week on a bipartisan gun violence prevention bill prompted by last year's deadly shooting at New Hampshire Hospital.

The bill would allow the state to report individuals with involuntary mental health admissions and other prohibited buyers to the federal background checks system, known as "NICS."

Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham, called it a historic moment to close a legal loophole and protect public safety.

"We have people who are a danger to themselves and others around them and struggling with severe mental health issues, who have access to firearms because we have zero stopgaps," Altschiller observed.

Altschiller pointed out even the gun lobby has backed similar measures in other states but some Senate Republicans have portrayed the bill as a "gun grab" and say the focus should be on improving mental health services.

New Hampshire Hospital security guard and former Police Chief Bradley Haas was killed last fall when a former patient returned to the facility and opened fire. While it is unclear how the person obtained the firearms, gun safety advocates say failure to report just one prohibited gun buyer to the NICS database puts everyone at risk.

Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of GunSenseNH, a project of Granite State Progress, said even former President Donald Trump signed a law to strengthen NICS reporting.

"This is a strong, bipartisan effort," Rice Hawkins emphasized. "It won't fix everything, but improving our NICS background check system is one, strong, easy way to make sure that the laws that are already on the books are enforced."

Rice Hawkins stressed there is no federal law requiring states to report prohibited buyers to the NICS system, making state record-reporting laws critical for public safety. She added the legislation also aims to protect those experiencing a mental health crisis. Nearly 90% of gun-related deaths in New Hampshire are suicides.

Disclosure: Granite State Progress Education Fund and Granite State Progress contribute to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Gun Violence Prevention, Health Issues, and Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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