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November 15. 2011 8:03PM

Proulx: No ban on guns in class

CONCORD — A Manchester legislator is backing a bill that would allow guns on college campuses.

In an email sent Monday, Rep. Mark Proulx, R-Manchester, chastised community college officials who asked legislators to vote down House Bill 334 when it comes up for a vote in January.

Proulx warned in the email that “gun-free zones become killing zones.”

The state’s public and private institutions currently set their own gun policies — and all ban guns on campus. Proulx’s bill would give lawmakers exclusive authority over the sale, ownership, transportation and use of firearms in the state.

Two officials from Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, President Wildolfo Arvelo and advisory board Chairwoman Nancy Pierce, wrote to Strafford and Rockingham County House members urging they change the bill to allow the state’s community college and university systems to set gun policies for their campuses.

“In testimony, college and university security personnel, including a former New Hampshire police officer and a member of the New Hampshire state police/major crimes unit, emphasized the dangers in eliminating current restrictions on gun possession on a college campus,” they wrote. “Thousands of young people attend New Hampshire’s colleges, sharing close quarters in residential, social, academic and other group activities. At this age, judgment and behaviors are still being developed and tested.”

Proulx replied to the e-mail saying: “The history lesson you should have learned is that gun-free zones become killing zones. These killing zones are the places that crazy people who are looking to make a name for themselves go.”

Proulx said allowing guns on campuses would stop violent behavior.

“Not to mention when these incidents happen, there were people there that could have stopped the killing early on but could not,” he wrote. “They could not because they were following some ridiculous law or rule that would not allow them to carry the weapon they wear every day.”

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 11-6 to recommend the bill pass as amended.

The bill also prohibits any private or public organization that leases or uses state property from banning firearms and would eliminate any regulation or policy currently in place.

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