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