Legislation introduced this session to address policing took a turn for the worse recently. It was amended in the Senate and now represents a striking blow to citizens’ right to self-defense. The bill had passed the House without the amendment, but the troublesome language was added late in the process before clearing the Senate.
H.145, by Rep. Maxine Grad, as currently written, would eliminate legal protections for those engaged in self-defense in the aid of others. These protections evaporate if you are fending off a violent attack for anyone other than yourself or an immediate family member. For example, the convenience store manager rescuing a clerk from an armed robber or an individual helping a neighbor who has come under violent criminal attack would now be in legal jeopardy and could face prosecution. It’s also perplexing that the standard under the “justifiable homicide” statute is now at odds with those existing under the “aggravated assault” statute.
Vermont is a small rural state, and much of the state does not have local law enforcement, relying on state police coverage. The state troopers are off duty between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., leaving citizens to provide for their own self-defense in much of the state.
The bill has passed both chambers and was delivered to the Governor’s desk today. Your immediate assistance is requested! Please call Gov. Phil Scott at 802-828-3333 and respectfully ask him to veto H.145.