Vermont, like the entire country, is still in the middle of a generational pandemic, and anti-gun politicians in Montpelier have recklessly prioritized gun control at the top of their legislative agenda for 2021. Even though the Statehouse remains closed, Vermont’s elected officials continue to huddle online and attack your Second Amendment rights, voting in relative obscurity in Cyberspace.
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.133 on a straight party line vote. This bill calls for forfeiture of firearms when a temporary restraining order is issued. NRA opposed this legislation because it ignores basic fundamental due process. This bill would force persons to surrender their firearms after an ex parte hearing, meaning they can instruct a person to turn over their guns without even being present at the hearing. Just as problematic, the burden of proof for the state is quite low – preponderance of the evidence. Our request to at least raise the bar to “clear and convincing” was summarily rejected. The bill now moves to the entire House for a vote.
Friday, March 12, is “crossover,” a self-imposed deadline for bills to pass committee in their chamber of origin. On the Senate side, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have been taking testimony for several weeks on S.30, which would prohibit firearms in hospitals, public buildings, and day care centers. This bill has hit several snags along the way as witness after witness pointed to problems with the ill-conceived bill. Proponents of the legislation simply failed to show there is a need for this bill and were unable to demonstrate a problem with existing law. Furthermore, current trespass law easily allows for issues related to these facilities to be addressed. Undeterred, bill sponsor Sen. Phil Baruth requested that the bill be discussed in the Democrat Caucus on Monday. The bill is now on the Senate Judiciary agenda again, and it could be up for a vote as early as Thursday as lawmakers race against the clock.
It is critically important that you contact your state Representative and Senator and respectfully request a NO vote on both H.133 and S.30.