A Loaded Issue

After almost any act of violence, be it a suicide or a mass school shooting, people ask questions, which usually boil down these questions: How could we have prevented this from happening? How can we keep it from happening again?

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

Advocates of the rights to own guns and those who want to restrict the laws governing them are often on opposing sides of the conversation. But many find a common voice when it comes to reducing gun violence. In New Hampshire, gun shop owners are forging ties with mental health experts to prevent the most frequent kind of death by firearms: suicide.

Sara Plourde, NHPR

It's no surprise to Granite Staters that New Hampshire is one of the safest places in the country.

As part of NHPR's news series, A Loaded Issue, we’re asking Granite Staters to weigh in with their thoughts about gun ownership, laws governing guns, and the culture here.

Each day we'll ask a new discussion question and throughout the week we'll read your comments on the air.

Today's Question:  Does New Hampshire need stricter gun control laws?

Please include your first name and your hometown.

Dougtone via Flickr/CC - http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/5044123946/in/photostream/

Throughout this week’s series on guns, we’ve heard  from residents of rural New Hampshire who think of firearms as a tool.

That’s a perspective you’ll hear and see in the North Country town of Colebrook, where you can pick up a firearm and home improvement tools in the same store.

In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting there’s been an increase in calls for gun control on Capitol Hill.

The Knowles Gallery via Flickr Creative Commons

As part of NHPR’s series, A Loaded Issue, we take a historical look at our attitudes toward firearms that have shaped our laws then and now.  A libertarian streak, along with a rural hunting culture in the Live Free or Die state, has meant few restrictions on firearms.  But new arrivals have brought changing attitudes towards guns.

GUESTS:

Andy Smith- Director of UNH Survey Center and Associate Professor of Political Science.

NHPR

As the debate over gun policy occupies center stage in Washington, N.H. lawmakers are also considering several bills that relate to guns.

As part of NHPR's news series, A Loaded Issue, we’re asking Granite Staters to weigh in with their thoughts about gun ownership, laws governing guns, and the culture here.

Each day we'll ask a new discussion question and throughout the week we'll read your comments on the air.

Today's Question:  Do you support President Obama’s gun control proposals?  Should there be criminal background checks for all gun sales, a ban on assault weapons and a limit on high-capacity magazines?

Please include your first name and your hometown.

Department of Agriculture photo, via Wikicommons

As we heard earlier in this series, many rural residents of New Hampshire have a strong connection to guns. But that wasn’t always the case.

Map: Where N.H.'s Gun Manufacturers Are (And Aren't)

Feb 13, 2013
Amanda Loder / NHPR

Recently, NHPR examined the impact of the firearms industry on the state's economy.  Especially now, with gun sales at historic highs, this subset of New Hampshire's manufacturing industry is benefiting.  Looking at federal firearms manufacturing licenses, we've pinpointed where the state's firearms manufacturers are located.

In 2011, New Hampshire lawmakers passed the so-called Stand Your Ground Law. The state has seen controversy over the law, with some calling for its repeal. Many states have had similar laws on the books for years now, and we talked with Associate Professor Mark Hoekstra of Texas A&M University about research on trends in those states. I started by asking him what the research specifically looked at.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

 You need a license to carry a loaded gun either in your car, or concealed on your body, in the state of New Hampshire. To  carry a loaded gun out in the open, you don’t need a license at all. That makes New Hampshire one of 28 states that allow so-called “open carry” to just about anyone, no permit or license needed. As part of our series A Loaded Issue, we visited an  Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms night at Twins Smoke Shop in Hooksett. 

As part of NHPR's news series, A Loaded Issue, we’re asking Granite Staters to weigh in with their thoughts about gun ownership, laws governing guns, and the culture here.

Each day we'll ask a new discussion question and throughout the week we'll read your comments on the air.

Today's Question:  Should N.H. Repeal Its 'Stand Your Ground' Law?

Please include your first name and your hometown.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

For many rural residents of New Hampshire, owning a gun is not a political statement; it’s a tool, or a form of recreation. Even for some non-gun-owning neighbors, the idea that others have guns for hunting or target shooting is pretty non-controversial. And what’s more, the data available indicate that in New Hampshire that rural gun-culture only seems to be growing.

The number of machine guns still in circulation is small compared to handguns or rifles, but federal data shows that New Hampshire is home to more machine guns per capita than any other state – about 9800 registered machine guns in all, or 7.47 machine guns per 1000 people.

Reporter Jim Haddadin wrote about this distinction for Foster’s Daily Democrat. He talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about what he found.

Emily Corwin and Sara Plourde / NHPR

New Hampshire is bordered by Vermont, which has the least gun regulation in the nation -- and Massachusetts, which has some of the tightest gun restrictions around.  After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, we put together this infographic, exploring the diversity of gun laws among our neighbors. 

[Note: While the information has not changed, some of the wording has been updated for better clarity. Click the image to read at full size.]

bisongirl via flickr Creative Commons

Women are a growing part of the debate over gun rights and potential new gun laws – partly because there are growing numbers of women who own and use guns. Erica Goode is a national correspondent on criminal justice issues for the New York Times; she wrote about the rising number of female gun owners this week, and she joins us as part of NHPR’s series on guns, “A Loaded Issue”.

WMUR-TV

As part of NHPR’s series A Loaded Issue, we’re talking with Granite Staters to get their thoughts about gun ownership, laws, and culture. Today we’ll get a glimpse of law enforcement from a unique perspective.

Manchester Police Officer Daniel Doherty is back at work, less than eleven months after being shot multiple times while attempting to apprehend a suspect. That suspect, Myles Webster, is now serving 60 years to life for attempted murder. As someone who patrols the state’s largest city, I asked Officer Doherty what the official procedure is when a suspect has a gun.

Discussion Question: How Should Guns Be Stored?

Feb 12, 2013

As part of NHPR's news series, A Loaded Issue, we’re asking Granite Staters to weigh in with their thoughts about gun ownership, laws governing guns, and the culture here.

Each day we'll ask a new discussion question and throughout the week we'll read your comments on the air.

Today's Question:  New Hampshire does not have any laws requiring guns to be locked in a home, should there be?  If you’re a gun owner, parent or not, how should guns be stored? 

Please include your first name and your hometown.

For parents, keeping guns in the home means taking steps to make sure children can’t get to them.

But as recent cases in New Hampshire show, things can go wrong. The results can be tragic, but also raise questions of how hard law enforcement should come down on those parents.

Sonja Smock vividly remembers the details of the night nearly two years ago when her daughter accidentally shot her.

The gun was a Smith and Wesson 38 Special Revolver.

Commitment Issues: Guns & The Mentally Ill

Feb 12, 2013

There’s a form to fill out when you purchase a firearm at a gun shop: Form 4473. On page 1, question 11-F, “Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution?”

Stan Holz, owner of Village Gun Store in the town of Whitefield, knows that not everyone answers truthfully.

In most cases, New Hampshire’s representatives in Congress have kept the state’s more open approach to gun ownership and gun rights during debates in Washington. There are exceptions, though, and they may tell us something about the state's role in today’s high profile national debate over gun violence.

A Gun Owner On Gun Laws

Feb 11, 2013

As part of or series, A Loaded Issue, we’re asking Granite Staters to weigh in with their thoughts about gun ownership, laws governing guns, and the culture here. We’ll be hearing from some of them throughout the series. This morning we hear from Keith Savage. He’s a business owner who lives in Goffstown.  I started our conversation by asking how guns became a part of his life.

N.H. Benefits From Firearms Boom

Feb 11, 2013
Amanda Loder / NHPR

As federal lawmakers grapple with tighter gun control laws, business is good for the firearms industry.Across the country, gun dealers can’t keep them on the shelves, and manufacturers can’t keep up with demand. But how do these trends affect New Hampshire's economy?


Sara Plourde / NHPR

No doubt you've being hearing a lot about guns in the news lately. For the uninitiated, the types and terminology can be overwhelming, and can make understanding what you're hearing - and knowing if it's accurate - a veritable chore. As part of our series, A Loaded Issue, NHPR is aiming to assist in demystifying the firearm, starting with this infographic that outlines a few of the basics (click on the image to view at full size):

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

The Granite State has an extensive history with personal firearms. And its laws reflect the state’s long-held attitudes about guns and the 2nd Amendment.


As part of NHPR's news series, A Loaded Issue, we’re asking Granite Staters to weigh in with their thoughts about gun ownership, laws governing guns, and the culture here.

Each day we'll ask a new discussion question and throughout the week we'll read your comments on the air.