Last Friday, the Vermont General Assembly wrapped up its work for the 2016 Legislative Session, and Vermont gun owners can once again be proud of the results.
Gun owners and sportsmen won several key battles. Early in the session, the House Government Operations Committee quickly shelved the Burlington Charter Change bills (H.566, H.567, and H.568), which would have allowed Burlington to pass its own anti-gun ordinances in defiance of state preemption and the Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights.
As session drew to a close, H.570, the Game and Fish bill, was adopted by both chambers and it removed the sunset expiration on last year’s suppressor bill. H.570 also codified important range protection provisions which allow ranges to make improvements without first obtaining an Act 250 permit.
One of the more protracted battles of the session focused on H.297, an ivory ban. This broad attack on hunting would have also impacted many others by criminalizing the mere possession of ivory that is currently legal. Many firearm grips, inlays and sights are made of ivory. This bill was being heavily lobbied by the usual cast of national anti-hunting radicals, including HSUS. The bill ultimately died when the House rejected Senate amendments, and the Senate responded by not appointing conferees to a committee to work out the differences.
There were several other anti-gun bills which failed to gain traction. This legislation didn’t even receive a committee hearing and included bills to ban lead ammunition for hunting, restrict magazine capacity to 10 rounds, and a bill requiring insurance policy holders to disclose if they own firearms.
Although Gun Sense Vermont and other surrogates of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were soundly defeated last year on the “universal” background check bill and failed to advance their gun grabbing agenda this year, we anticipate that they will regroup and recommit themselves to the same failed bills next session as it is an “off-election” year. Gun owners will have to remain vigilant in 2017 and can anticipate another strong push from anti-gun forces in the Green Mountain State.
We would like to thank NRA members, Second Amendment supporters and our state association, the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs for an outstanding job this session. Our combined membership made phone calls, wrote emails, and attended a couple of large events at the Statehouse, flooding the Capitol halls with a sea of orange.
Please continue to follow NRA-ILA alerts as we update our members about critical developments in Vermont.