Republican male lawmakers in New Hampshire wore pearl necklaces while voting against a bill that would prohibit people from possessing a gun if, based on a judge’s order, they pose an immediate risk of either harming themselves or others.
On Tuesday, a hearing was held at the New Hampshire State House to vote on House Bill 687, a “red flag” law that allows family members or law enforcement officers to petition for a court order to temporarily prevent people who “pose an immediate risk to themselves or others” from accessing firearms, reported the Union Leader.
Male opponents of the bill, such as Rep. David Welch, R-Kingston and Scott Wallace, R-Danville (both of whom didn’t reply to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment), wore pearl necklaces — a token from the Women’s Defense League of New Hampshire (WDLNH), an organization that fights for Second Amendment rights and opposes HB 687.
“They gave them out to a whole bunch of us,” Welch, who opposes the bill, told the Union Leader.
According to Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the necklaces hinted at “pearl-clutching,” a phrase suggesting that someone is hysterical, shocked, or overreacting. Many on Twitter reacted to the lawmakers’ stunt, calling the necklaces “childish” and “shameful.”
“Male New Hampshire lawmakers on the hearing committee wearing pearls to mock @MomsDemand volunteers and gun safety advocates,” Watts tweeted. Advocates for the bill wore red T-shirts, according to the news outlet.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 5, 2019
But WDLNH president Kimberly Morin tells Yahoo Lifestyle that pearls represent women’s freedom.
“Years ago, for a hearing on constitutional carry [carrying a gun without a permit], members of our organization showed up in professional clothing and three happened to be wearing pearls,” Morin tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “A member of Moms Demand claimed she didn’t testify because she felt like she was in front of a firing squad. We don’t know why she said that. Ever since we’ve worn the pearls at hearings.”
Morin adds: “We’re just moms testifying on different sides of the issue. No one was ‘clutching pearls.'”
The Women’s Defense League website called HB 687 “the most destructive piece of legislation” in modern history: “The rights of law-abiding gun owners across the state can be stripped away by an angry ex-husband or wife; a psychopathic ex-roommate; a pissed off Mother-in-Law; an abusive boyfriend OR the police can file a petition on ANYONE at ANY TIME.”
— Kimberly Morin (@Conservativeind) March 5, 2019
Some opposition to HB 687 cites no due process — according to the bill, “A petitioner may request, and court may enter, a temporary extreme risk protection order with or without actual notice to respondent.”
Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach Watts for an interview, but she told the Union Leader, “These lawmakers decided to wear symbols that essentially mocked the process. They made light of this very important law that has been passed in nine states in the past year, and signed by Republican and Democratic governors alike. They showed they were not coming to this hearing with an open mind, and they were making light of survivors who were testifying on the suicide of a child, or women who were survivors of domestic abuse.”
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