In Wake of Parkland Shooting, Sununu Says Congress is Right Place to Tackle Gun Reform

Feb 21, 2018

Speaking to a group of reporters on Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu would not say whether he  supports any changes to state-level gun laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school last week.

“I’ve always said and I firmly believe, New Hampshire has some pretty good firearms regulations and laws on the books, I just think we have a tradition of doing this pretty well,” Sununu said. “What happened in Florida is a tragedy. We have to understand it. We have to hopefully learn from it.”

Instead of focusing on changes to the state’s gun laws, Sununu instead pointed to New Hampshire’s ongoing efforts to fund improvements to school security systems and mental health supports, both of which he also emphasized during his recent State of the State speech.

“We’re also trying to reach out and be very proactive in making sure the teachers and the schools have the training in their safety plan, making sure all the schools have completed their safety plans,” Sununu said. “These are all the preventative measures that are out there.”

Pressed again for his position on gun laws specifically, the governor said reform is likely best left to Congress. President Trump has in recent days directed the Department of Justice to look into banning so-called "bump stocks," a type of accessory that can be used to make a gun fire lots of bullets more rapidly. (Though t's unclear whether a bump stock was used in last week's shooting at the Florida high school, though it was used by the gunman who killed 59 people at a Las Vegas concert last October.)

"It looks like they may be taking up the bump stock bill, at the federal level, in Congress,” Sununu said. “I think that’s exactly where, if a bill like that is being debated, the federal level is the appropriate place. So I’ll be kind of curious to see where it goes.”

The New Hampshire Senate had a chance to weigh in on a proposed ban on bump stocks, backed by a group of Democrats from both chambers, at the beginning of February. In the end, senators voted along party lines to recommend further study — effectively sidelining it for the time being.