Portsmouth March for Our Lives

Dear Friends;

I joined more than 2,500 people to watch many courageous students who spoke out at the March for Our Lives Rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire yesterday. I am so proud of the students who were so powerful and exhibited courage and strength yesterday. They give us all hope for the future leadership of this country. Students - please know how to vote in November and overcome any obstacles that are put up to make it harder for you to do so. It is so very important. 

Also compelling were the speeches from seacoast educators who spoke about their rejection of the suggestions that they should be armed.

The idea of arming educators is absurd. Even trained law enforcement personnel in New York City reported an accuracy rate of between 17.4 and 28.3 percent in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In all shootings — including those against people, New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate. The likelihood that an armed educator who is less trained than law enforcement could accurately stop a shooting in progress in a highly stressed active shooter situation, is absurd.

As a state legislator, I am frustrated that the New Hampshire House voted against an attempt to suspend the rules on March 6, 2018 to introduce emergency legislation to prohibit the sale or possession of bump stocks and to prohibit the sale of guns to those under the age of 21.  

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In New Hampshire, firearms are responsible for 46% of all deaths by suicide according to the 2016 New Hampshire Suicide Prevention report was produced by the National Alliance on Mental Illness – NH (NAMI NH), State Suicide Prevention Council (SPC) and Youth Suicide Prevention Assembly (YSPA) [see above]. For this reason, I support a 48 hour waiting period when someone wants to get a gun.

I believe that we have to allow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to study gun safety issues. They have not been able to study this since 1996 when the National Rifle Association (NRA) was able to get an amendment into a spending bill that prohibited the CDC from studying gun safety after public health studies indicated that having a gun in the house increased the likelihood for suicide or homicide, among other things. 

I grew up in rural upstate New York around guns. I support common-sense gun safety legislation. I know you don’t need an assault rifle for target practice or hunting. I support prohibiting the sale of assault weapons, high capacity magazines and bump stocks.  I also support raising the age to 21 to be able to purchase a gun. 

Most don’t realize how much activities in the State House impact their lives and how important it is for people to vote for state and federal legislators that reflect their views. Change must happen but will only happen if we advocate for and elect people who represent our values. We must get out the vote in November 2018.

We all owe Sarah Mae Brown and the Resistance Seacoast a debt of gratitude for all their work organizing this event and all they and other activists do for our Seacoast community.

I have a proven record of fighting for the lives and safety of my constituents and I will continue to do so.

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Kimberly Sychterz