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Attorney General’s Interim Guidance Highlights Danger of HB 1178

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – On Wednesday evening, House Democratic Leader David Cote sent correspondence to the NH Attorney General (attached) asking that guidance be promptly released on HB 1178, enacted in June. Following the letter, the Attorney General’s office released interim guidance to county sheriffs and police. In response to the release of this interim guidance, House Democratic Leader Rep. David Cote (D-Nashua) released the following statement:

“The Attorney General’s interim guidance lacks the clarity law enforcement and educators need and obscures the real danger of HB 1178. The guidance reads: “Local and state law enforcement officers are empowered to respond to, investigate, and take action with respect to any potential threat to schools pursuant to their authority under the New Hampshire Criminal Code. The passage of HB 1178 does not alter this.”

The fact is, the New Hampshire Criminal code permits anyone other than students to carry firearms on campuses and permits people to legally brandish weapons, a dangerous change Gov. Sununu signed into law just last year. We do not have a state law prohibiting the carrying of firearms on school campuses, but before HB 1178 law enforcement officers were able to respond to emergencies under the federal Gun Free Schools Zone Act with the assistance of federal agencies. With the passage of HB 1178, if law enforcement is required to stand down until a New Hampshire law has been violated, it could be too late. The Attorney General needs to make it clear at which point state and local police and school officials can act and when they must stand down as prescribed by HB 1178. There can be no gray area for the safety of our communities and schools or for our frontline emergency response.”

7_13_22 Correspondence
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