Gun control legislation is still alive in the Vermont Legislature, and gun owners need to continue to make their voices heard in Montpelier. The Senate Judiciary and Health and Welfare Committees have been taking testimony the last several weeks on Senate Bill 31, introduced by state Senator John Campbell (D-15). The bill would impose background checks on all transfers, including private transfers between longtime friends and extended family. The bill was met with an outpouring of public opposition, exposing claims by Gun Sense Vermont that “universal background checks” enjoy “widespread support.” When Vermont gun owners showed up at the Capitol in capacity crowds, lawmakers quickly pulled back and scrapped the background check mandate.
Once S.31 became toxic, the anti-gun groups scrambled, and now they are pushing a “committee bill” that incorporates complete sections of S.31. The proposed language still casts a net too broad and doesn’t have an efficient, clearly defined rights-restoration process. In addition, many of the provisions are unnecessary because they are mirrored in federal law.
TODAY is “crossover,” one of the Legislature’s deadlines for moving bills from one chamber to the other. Up against the clock, this committee bill is going to be quickly posted, and it will not get the full public input that ordinarily would have occurred. The language that NRA has reviewed, although the bill has not been formally introduced, is still problematic and rushing it through the process would only result in the severe consequences we’ve seen in other states, like the neighboring state of New York.
Ultimately, it is very confusing why Vermont, which is perennially one of the safest states in the country, “needs” a gun control bill. This “solution in search of a problem” is being pushed by an out-of-state gun control group that has an anti-gun political agenda.
Because the bill is poised to quickly be passed by the two Senate Committees, please contact your state Senator and politely remind him or her that Vermont’s gun laws are working just fine, and the state is one of the safest states in the country. Lawmakers should focus what’s left of their session on real, major issues facing the state.