CONCORD, NH (CBS) – Hundreds of gun control supporters flocked to New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s office Monday afternoon to pressure him to sign three gun control bills headed to his desk into law.
The bills would change existing laws to increase background checks, implement a waiting period before acquiring a gun, and affect laws regarding firearms on school property.
At a press conference and rally prior to the walk to the Governor’s office, a man showed up carrying a shotgun.
Brennan Robinson told WBZ he brought the gun “in political protest.” The 21-year-old and his mother came to the rally to protest increased laws controlling guns in the state.
“What I would like to do is show the fact that a citizen in New Hampshire can open carry a weapon and it is within their rights to do so – and they shouldn’t because of a media hype about a mass shooting back down from their God-given constitutional rights that they are given as citizens,” he said.
— Kristina Rex (@KristinaRex) August 5, 2019
Robinson said he was saddened by the mass shootings that killed 31 people in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend. “I really [wish] that I was there,” he said. “I would’ve shot the damn shooter. I would’ve tried to protect people and I would’ve taken action.”
The counter-protester stayed behind as the crowd of at least 100 people continued to the Governor’s office, peacefully demanding a meeting with Sununu to discuss their concerns.
“It’s almost scary to go to school now – really anyone can buy any kind of weapon,” said 14-year-old Lily Mayhew, who attended the rally with her mom. “It’s terrifying that this happens…It can happen to anyone.”
Governor Sununu did not come out of his office to meet with the group but instead sent a representative to hear their questions and concerns.
“We know that there are several factors, many factors that contribute to gun violence, but at the top of the list is guns,” one woman said. She told the representative she feels lucky that New Hampshire hasn’t experienced a mass shooting like others in the country. “I, and I think everyone here, would urge the governor not to wait for our luck to run out,” she said, met with applause.
Sununu’s office released a statement to WBZ saying in full:
“Like the entire nation, I was horrified by the senseless acts of hate and violence this past weekend. What we must say unequivocally is that hate, white supremacy, and acts of domestic terror have not place in New Hampshire or anywhere in this country. While we will never know all the things that lead a person to commit acts of evil, we must be mindful that the mental health crisis gripping our state and nation is a significant factor. Here in New Hampshire, we have taken multiple steps to address our mental health needs and to build a more welcoming and tolerant state. From the school safety task force, to rebuilding our state’s mental health system, including the largest investment of resources in decades, to establishing the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and to establishing the State’s first Civil Rights Unit to step up prosecution of hate crimes, we are taking major steps to ensure the safety of our citizens is paramount.”