While the Capitol in Montpelier is atypically quiet for January, the COVID situation has not prevented the Legislature from moving forward with their business. Session is underway remotely. Instead of meeting in cramped rooms under the dome, lawmakers are logging in to video conferences to discuss bills. And although leadership had indicated weeks ago that the session would be confined to COVID-related business, there is some indication that there could be deviation from that plan.
As a result, we have been closely monitoring all Statehouse activity for potential threats to the Second Amendment. Vermont NRA members should be aware that a handful of gun bills have already been introduced.
S. 31 by Sen. Alison Clarkson would do several things. In addition to creating a 72-hour waiting period, it would create a mandatory storage provision, allow family members to initiate “red flag” protection orders and prohibit “large capacity” ammunition magazines from being manufactured in Vermont. This bill has been assigned to committee, however, no action has been scheduled.
S. 4 by Sen. Phil Baruth would create a 48-hour waiting period on firearm transfers. Similar legislation was introduced in the previous session, but it failed to pass. Like S.31, this bill has been assigned to committee, but no hearing has been scheduled.
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began preliminary committee work via Zoom on another bill by Sen. Baruth, S.30. This week's online meeting included a “walk-thru” from legislative staff and testimony from several statewide elected officials. This legislation would prohibit firearms at day care facilities, hospitals and publicly owned buildings. Several questions and concerns were raised by committee members. The committee will resume discussing the bill next week, and it is expected that these hearings will continue to occur over the coming weeks.
Please follow NRA-ILA alerts, as we will continue to keep members informed of any public hearing notices and votes as they are scheduled.