On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee utilized a procedural move to advance legislation previously vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott. The amended S.4, which replaces the vetoed S.30, passed the Committee 4-1 and advances to the full Senate.
S.30 originally began as a “location restriction” for hospitals but evolved into an Omnibus Gun Control Bill. It extended NICS delayed background checks indefinitely, but it also expanded the state’s red flag law. After the “strike all” amendment, S.4 now essentially mirrors the vetoed S.30 with the major difference being that the number of days allowed before a delayed NICS transfer can proceed has been changed. Under federal law, the transfer is allowed to proceed after 3 days. S.30 would have indefinitely blocked a delayed NICS check. The amended S.4 creates a wait of up to 7 business days. Vermont lawmakers are more than doubling the acceptable delay time in a move that can only be described as arbitrary and unnecessary. There was zero evidence offered as to why they landed on the number seven.
Despite vetoing S.30, the Governor has signaled that he supports this change, and he has no problem with the rest of the bill. However, make no mistake, this bill is still very troubling, and we remain steadfastly opposed. The entire premise of this bill is flawed. The underlying assumption is that criminals are subjecting themselves to background checks and honoring “safe zones,” and we know this simply is not the case. There was substantial testimony that the state’s current criminal trespass law would easily address hospitals. This is essentially a problem that doesn’t exist. Finally, this legislation’s expansion of the “red flag” law pays little regard to due process. There are many reasons to oppose this bill.
As we have maintained this entire time, this bill will do nothing to improve public safety. It is about continuing to advance a political agenda against gun owners. Please continue to contact your legislators and politely request that they vote against S.4!