With roughly a few weeks of session remaining, Gun Sense Vermont’s major gun control push has officially floundered. Last week, the Senate concurred with House amendments to Senate Bill 141, which replaced Senate Bill 31 after it faltered due to an outpouring of opposition from Vermont gun owners. S.31, introduced by Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, was a “universal background check” bill that would have eroded the Second Amendment rights of Vermonters by severely restricting private transfers such as those conducted between family members.
Campaign finance reports show that Gun Sense Vermont spent huge amounts of cash, approaching $200,000 over the last 18 months, on lobbyists and PAC contributions, but gun owners and sportsmen stood up in strong opposition to their misguided anti-gun agenda and handed them a resounding defeat.
S.141 now does little more than mirror federal law with respect to two provisions, mental health reporting and felony possession. NRA worked with our state association, the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, in securing an amendment in the House that the Senate had previously rejected. That amendment addressed an unnecessary 18-month waiting period before someone could petition for restoration of their rights. The House continued to oppose the amendment, but gun owners persisted in contacting lawmakers until they relented. The bill has now cleared the Legislature and awaits action by Governor Peter Shumlin (D).
Despite this major victory, there are still gun bills remaining in the hopper as session nears completion for 2015. The House Government Operations Committee is doing a “walk-through” of the Burlington Charter Change bills this week. House Bill 90, House Bill 91, and House Bill 92 will be discussed by the Committee on Thursday, April 30. These anti-gun bills would strike a blow to state preemption and the Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights. Please contact members of the House Government Operations Committee and politely request that they oppose these measures.
In addition to the charter change bills, the House Fish, Wildlife & Water Resources Committee has three dangerous bills remaining on their calendar, as previously reported. House Bill 296 would give regulatory authority of shooting ranges to municipalities and would all but nullify state range protections. House Bill 297 is a bill being pushed by HSUS that bans the possession of ivory and will be heard tomorrow, April 28. House Bill 460 would ban traditional lead ammunition for hunting. Please contact members of the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee and ask them to oppose these bills as well.
House Government Operations Committee:
Representative Donna Sweaney (D-43), Chair
Representative Debbie Evans (D-79), Vice-Chair
Representative Dennis J. Devereux (R-103)
Representative Joanna Cole (D-25)
Representative Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-131)
Representative Mark Higley (R-37)
Representative Ronald Hubert (R-38)
Representative Robert LaClair (R-78)
Representative Patti J. Lewis (R-6)
Representative Linda J. Martin (D-56)
Representative Maida Townsend (D-3)
House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee:
Representative David L. Deen (D-136), Chair
Representative James McCullough (D-56), Vice-Chair
Representative Steve Beyor (R-104)
Representative Robert Krebs (D-26)
Representative Paul Lefebvre (R-27)
Representative Amy Sheldon (D-92)
Representative Thomas Terenzini (R-101)
Representative Kathryn Webb (D-132)
Representative Janssen Willhoit (R-9)