CONCORD, N.H. — Lawmakers in New Hampshire heard testimony on a bill that could potentially impact gun legislation in the state, as people who were present during a tragic shooting at New Hampshire Hospital shared their experiences on Friday. The bill, known as “Bradley’s Law,” is named after Bradley Haas, an unarmed security guard who lost his life during the shooting.
The proposed legislation would allow the state to report certain mental health information to the federal background check system for gun purchases. Supporters of the bill, including individuals present during the shooting, testified that such a measure could have potentially altered the tragic outcome.
One witness, John Hinck, a psychiatrist at New Hampshire Hospital, recalled the harrowing events of Nov. 17, when gunfire erupted in the hospital lobby. The bill was drafted in response to the shooting, revealing that the shooter had been involuntarily committed at the hospital, raising questions about how he had access to firearms.
If passed, the bill would grant the judicial branch the authority to report individuals to the federal background check system for gun purchases if they have a history of involuntary commitment to a mental health facility, found not guilty by reason of insanity, or deemed incompetent to stand trial and a danger to themselves or others by the court.
Proponents of the bill emphasized the potential for such legislation to prevent similar tragedies in the future. The bill would also provide avenues for individuals reported to petition for the restoration of their rights after a specified period of time.
While the bill has garnered bipartisan support, some opponents argue that it may not effectively address all avenues for individuals to access firearms. According to the Giffords Law Center, New Hampshire is one of only three states in the country that does not require the reporting of certain mental health information for background checks on gun purchases.