Op-Ed: NH’s GOP Leader: Buy AK-47 Bullets, Not Hot Dogs 

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Leonard Witt

By Leonard Witt 

I started July Fourth making signs as my contribution in keeping with a tradition as old as America, marching in a parade touting my political party.

I took tons of photos as we Democrats marched toward Tamworth Village.  The Silver Lake Singers singing freedom songs, our three NH House candidates Dr. Jerry Knirk, Gabrielle Watson and Peaco Todd, meeting and greeting, the rest of us holding signs aloft: Save Our Public Schools, Vote Democrat for the Future, Democrats: Pro Choice, Pro Health, Pro Earth. 

Perfect photos to tweet, but as soon as I began tweeting, I saw the news feed: six killed and dozens injured in a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill. Should I tweet or, in reverence to the dead and injured, not? I decided we cannot cave to the forces of evil.  

Then I came across a dark, ominous tweet from the NH GOP House Majority Leader Jason Osborne; it was posted just hours before the Highland Park shooting and read: 

Instead of spending $20 more than last year on your Independence Day hot dogs, lay off the calories and grab a few more rounds for your AK-47. You’ll thank yourself later. 

Given the fresh blood spilled of moms, dads, grandparents, boy and girls, most other writers would have taken down the post. But in today’s world, people like Osborne think they have the agency and the support to say anything they want, perhaps with a dystopian plan for all of our futures that says, “grab a few more rounds for your AK-47. You’ll thank yourself later.”

Not only did he not remove the post, he double downed via, this exchange with a tweeter who took him to task, writing: 

On a day when 6 people get killed, you have to tweet this hate? GFY.

Osborne’s reply: 

Purchasing supplies is hate? You must be fun to go shopping with. 

Compare what Osborne said with what the Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois said about the killings:  “Our founders carried muskets, not assault weapons. And I don’t think a single one of them would have said you have a constitutional right to an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine — or that that is more important than the right of the people who attended this parade today to live. Yes, I’m angry. We, as a nation, deserve better.”

We as a state deserve better than Osborne, who unfortunately is emboldened by the NH GOP and especially by Gov. Chris Sununu and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley. Recently, the US House and Senate passed the first bi-partisan federal anti-gun violence legislation in years. It was a signal, an attempt, a tiny step to stop young crazed males from killing babies. 

At about the same time, Sununu signed into law HB 1178, which prohibits New Hampshire from enforcing any federal statute, regulation or Presidential Executive Order that regulates arms. This newly signed law ties the hands of law enforcement, empowers people like Osborne and puts each of us and our children at greater risk. 

I marched on this July Fourth to break Sununu’s, Bradley’s and Osborne’s radical right hold on New Hampshire. In November we must replace them with moderate candidates who know the slaughter of children is never going to be stopped by politicians advocating buying AK-47 bullets that rip human flesh and lives  to pieces. 

Leonard Witt is an at-large delegate for the Carroll County Democrats, his opinions here are his alone. 

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