Near Silence From NH Congressional Delegation on Biden Gun Speech
Only one member of the Seacoast's congressional delegation reacted to President Joe Biden's primetime speech calling on them to "do something" about gun violence.
Biden approached the podium surrounded by 56 candles that represented each of the fifty states and territories, all of which have been impacted by gun violence. His address came on the heels of shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo, an elementary school in Texas, and a hospital in Texas.
The president said that his takeaway from conversations with the families of victims was to take action about the violence.
"Do something. Just do something. For God’s sake, do something," Biden said. "After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done. This time, that can’t be true. This time, we must actually do something."
In his speech, the president outlined actions Congress should take.
"We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21. Strengthen background checks. Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws," Biden said. "Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability. Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence."
Biden stressed that it's not about taking away rights, but protecting children and families.
"It’s about protecting whole communities. It’s about protecting our freedoms to go to school, to a grocery store, and to a church without being shot and killed."
Comment from only one member of the delegation
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was the only member of the New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations to react on social media to Biden's speech.
"Commonsense gun reform and upholding the 2nd amendment are not mutually exclusive. Our people - our children - deserve better. They deserve action from Congress now," Shaheen wrote on her Twitter account.
Rep. Chris Pappas tweeted on Friday morning about June being Gun Violence Awareness Month, but did not comment on Biden's speech.
However, several state legislators from the Seacoast region reacted to Biden.
"In #NH, @NHDems have put forward- & passed-gun violence prevention legislation. Gov. Sununu vetoed & then campaigned for gun extremists & Free Staters. #NH gun violence prevention is policy based on hopefully being lucky, it’s a stupid gamble w/our lives," state Sen. Debra Altschiller (D-Rockingham 24) from Statham tweeted.
Rep. David Meuse (D-Rockingham 29) from Portsmouth in a retweet of a news report about a Barrington man arrested for threatening to shoot up an elementary school, said "Threatening to commit a crime of violence “with a purpose to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, facility of public transportation” is illegal in NH. But thanks to our governor, carrying a loaded gun onto school grounds is not."
Gov. Chris Sununu also did not offer comment on Biden's speech.