Gun Control and the Midterm Elections: Everything You Need to Know

Rhi Watkins, Arts Editor

With mass shootings on the rise over the past year, gun control has been at the forefront of most American’s minds. With the midterm elections less than a week away, and the country being divided on the issue of gun control, voting for the candidates that represent the legislation you want to see in place is important. Here’s a run-down of where all the candidates stand on gun legislation.

Gubernatorial Race

Tom Sherman (D): Running as the Democratic nominee, he supports stricter gun control laws. While he agrees with the right of responsible individuals to own guns, he also supports stricter background checks so that firearms do not fall into the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others. He also supports limited access to military-grade weapons.

Chris Sununu (R):  Seeking a fourth consecutive term as New Hampshire governor, he opposes stricter gun laws. In June, Sununu signed House Bill 1178, which prohibits New Hampshire state and local law enforcement from enforcing federal firearm laws. Democrats notoriously have opposed the bill, while firearms rights groups have endorsed it.

Senate Election

Maggie Hassan (D): Running for her second term in the U.S. Senate, the former governor has long supported more restrictive gun laws. She openly spoke of her support for the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was passed on June 24, 2022. The act includes administering extreme risk protection laws by states, enhanced background checks for individuals between the ages of 18 to 21, over $2 billion for funding of schools towards mental health services and prevention of violence, $1 billion towards general mental health services and the closure of the “boyfriend loophole.” By federal law, domestic abusers are not allowed to own guns, but only if they have been married to, lived with, or have children with the victim. The “boyfriend loophole” refers to how this law falls short of including any other abusers and dating partners from the prohibition of firearms.

Don Buldoc (R): Running against Hassan as the Republican candidate, he opposes stricter gun laws. He firmly believes in the second amendment right of citizens to bear arms. He feels that reducing violence is not a matter of creating restrictive laws but rather of building stronger communities through faith, education, family values, sports and arts programs that bring people together.

U.S. House

Chris Pappas (D): Running for reelection to the U.S. House, Pappas said in an interview with WMUR, “I respect people’s second amendment rights. That is part of our way of life here in New Hampshire, and we can have responsible gun ownership in New Hampshire while preventing instances of mass shootings and violence in our communities.” 

He supports banning sales of assault weapons, which was in place during the 1990s and early 2000s, which he said made a difference in saving lives. Alongside Hassan, he strongly supported the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re protecting people’s safety, that we’re working to take on the issue of gun violence,” he said. “We can do that in a way that respects people’s gun ownership and the right to bear arms.”

Karoline Leavitt (R): Running on the Republican ticket to represent New Hampshire’s first district, she said in an interview with WMUR, “I am a proud, unequivocal supporter of our second amendment. I am proud to be endorsed by the NRA.”

She stated that she feels New Hampshire has a strong second amendment culture that makes it one of the safest states in the country. She opposes any legislation that would restrict gun ownership or the ability to buy firearms, including military-grade weapons.

“I will always support the rights of law-abiding granite-staters to purchase and obtain firearms to protect themselves, their families, and their property,” Leavitt said.

New Hampshire House

Timothy Horrigan (D): An incumbent candidate, Horrigan supports stricter laws around who can purchase firearms.

 “The idea that just anybody can have a gun and be able to carry it around just anywhere is just total nonsense,” said Horrigan..  “No other country on the planet tolerates that sort of thing except for maybe the ones that are in a state of total chaos.”

Horrigan plans to co-sponsor a variety of gun safety bills and is a member of Gun Sense Voter, an organization that strives to promote candidates who support gun control laws and a future without gun violence. Horrigan was endorsed by the organization for this election.

Loren Selig (D): The political newcomer has devoted much of her campaign to advocating for gun safety. 

“Absolutely we need stronger gun control laws. There should be a complete ban on all assault weapons,” she said. “There should also be a mandatory 48-72 hour wait period to buy a gun or to buy more than 10 bullets.”

She also supports a complete licensing process that would require training and classes as well as regular renewal periods that would include a mental health evaluation of the gun owner.


The two remaining democratic nominees who also support stricter gun laws are Marjorie K. Smith, an incumbent representative who is running for re-election for her thirteenth term in the New Hampshire House, and Cam Kenney, an incumbent representative who has served the NH House since 2018.

On the Republican side, Bonnie McDermott and Cliff Zetterstrom are both openly opposed to gun control laws, according to Citizens Count. McDermott has not provided further comments, while Zetterstrom said “it’s fine the way it is.” Jennifer Betts Olszerski and Tyanne Sylvestre have declined to provide their views on gun legislation.

For students looking for more information on how to vote in the upcoming election on Nov. 8, 603 Forward offers information on their website. Students can also access more information on how to vote by checking out the University of New Hampshire Voting page.