No public hearing planned for gun legislation; lawmakers say colleagues fear political retaliation

Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson, left, talks about H.124, a bill that would close the gun show loophole and puts state statutes in place that mirror federal laws that prohibit felons, forensic mental health patients and convicted domestic violence abusers from possessing guns. To her right: Reps. Michael Mrowicki, Adam Greshin, and Mike Yantachka. Photo by Nat Rudarakanchana

Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson, left, talks about H.124, a bill that would close the gun show loophole and puts state statutes in place that mirror federal laws that prohibit felons, forensic mental health patients and convicted domestic violence abusers from possessing guns. To her right: Reps. Michael Mrowicki, Adam Greshin, and Mike Yantachka. Photo by Nat Rudarakanchana

The latest casualty in the gun control battle is a bill that sought to strike a balance between gun rights and public safety concerns about unfettered access to weapons in Vermont.

The legislation, H.124, would tighten background checks for gun purchasers, limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, and give local police the authority to enforce the federal law prohibiting felons and domestic violence offenders from possessing guns. It does not limit the sale of assault-style weapons like those used to kill 20 young children in Newtown, Conn., last December.

Rep. Bill Lippert, D-Hinesburg, chair of House Judiciary, said his committee doesn’t have time to take testimony on H.124 before the crossover deadline on Friday, when all non-money related bills must be passed out of the House for consideration in the Senate. That means the bill will go nowhere this year, and it will not get a public airing at the Statehouse this session.

Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson, D-Essex and the key sponsor of the bill, said there isn’t enough support among House members to bring the legislation to the floor.

“I find it very disappointing,” Waite-Simpson said. “I think there are very good things in the bill that are not controversial.”

Most Vermonters, for example, support background checks for gun purchasers, she said. In a recent poll from Castleton Polling Institute, more than 80 percent of the respondents (half of whom own guns) supported universal background checks.

H.124 would restrict the manufacture, distribution and purchase of ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds; close the gun show loophole, which enables people to buy guns without a background check; give local law enforcement the authority to enforce federal gun restrictions; require the Department of Mental Health to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; mandate a gun safety course for individuals carrying concealed firearms; and repeal the prohibition on gun silencers in the state of Vermont.

Her colleagues, Waite-Simpson said, compare the political repercussions of passage of any gun legislation to the controversial civil unions bill that gave gay couples the right to the same legal protections as married couples. Shortly after that controversial bill was passed in 1999, Democrats lost the House and Senate to Republicans. Many of the same “Take Back Vermont” activists from that era vocally oppose any gun restrictions, Waite-Simpson said.

“It’s unbelievable we can’t look at these things,” she said. “The Take Back Vermont folks are loud and vocal on this issue, and that’s reason enough in everyone’s mind that it’s a source of concern.”

And then there is the National Rifle Association intimidation factor. Vermont is one of five states with the least-restrictive gun laws in the nation, and Evan Hughes, spokesman for the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, a local group affiliated with the NRA, has said his members want to to keep it that way. Lawmakers in Vermont like Waite-Simpson, who have been outspoken about the need for reforms, have been targeted by the NRA. That fact has not deterred her from standing up for what she says are common sense restrictions. She is bringing representatives from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Million Moms Against Gun Violence to the Statehouse on Wednesday for a press event.

“Who better than mothers to stand up to the NRA?” Waite-Simpson said. “We are raising our children to solve problems with words, not guns. This is what million moms are about — changing our culture. That’s where I’m standing, and I may get knocked down.”

Waite-Simpson said it’s shocking that in the three months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, “We can’t even talk about it in this building.”

Rep. Allison Clarkson, D-Woodstock, who has sponsored a gun safety bill that would require gun owners to lock up weapons, said her proposal is is also getting a cool reception from lawmakers. Similar measures have passed around the country. She is perplexed by her colleagues’ non-response in the wake of the Newtown murders.

“This is a public health issue,” Clarkson said. “It’s not like plowing new ground. If we do nothing, fear wins, and I am tired of being dictated by fear.”

House Speaker Shap Smith says there is no consensus in the House on how to proceed with gun restrictions, if at all. The ground work hasn’t been laid for reaching consensus, he said, on a bill that could “go all the way through and be signed into law.”

He said lawmakers need to define “the problem we’re trying to fix first.”

“We’ve been giving a lot of thought about how we might create that consensus, and my ultimate goal isn’t to just pass something as a statement, it’s to try to make Vermont a safer place while maintaining our traditional rights for sportsmen,” Smith said. “I think that’s going to take a lot of work and finesse.”

“I talked to a bunch of gun advocates who are saying, ‘how can it be that all this legislation is being introduced’? I said, well, that’s democracy,” Smith said. “We don’t prevent people from introducing legislation. If we start going down that road, I’d be scared about my guns. If you start telling people what they can do as far as democracy goes, the next step is going to be is telling people about what they can and cannot have under hte Constitution. The question to my mind is do we want to have a hearing or do we want to get something done. And testimony on a bill is all well and good, but I think that this is going to be a process that takes some time and I think we’ve got to get the right people to look at the issue and work together to make some proposals that are going to have some consensus around them.”

On Wednesday, advocates for gun safety will hold a 10 a.m. rally followed by a press conference at the Statehouse on the eve of the three month anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. Former Gov. Madeleine Kunin and representatives from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Million Moms Against Gun Violence will speak in support of H.124 and a bill that requires safe storage of guns.

Correction: Rep. Allison Clarkson’s last name was misspelled in the original version of this story as Clark.

Anne Galloway

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100 Comments on "No public hearing planned for gun legislation; lawmakers say colleagues fear political retaliation"

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Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago

Why is an editorial being posted as news?

News is reporting of facts. An editorial is opinion written in such a way as to try to change the opinion of others.

Correct?

David Black
3 years 5 months ago

“House Speaker Shap Smith says there is no consensus in the House on how to proceed with gun restrictions, if at all”
This means, why fix something before it is broken.
These advocates need to go back to the real work of serving the good people of Vermont and take a better look at the bad ones.

Chris Robinson
3 years 5 months ago

I agree with Stuart. This is an opinion article. “Safe gun advocates”? More like gun restriction on law abiding citizens.

Ann Raynolds
3 years 5 months ago

The Keep-Your-Guns-Locked-Up legislation proposed by Alison Clarkson, (D-Woodstock,Reading,Plymouth) should hardly be controversial. Good gun-owners do keep guns and ammo locked away. Adam Lanza’s Mother did not, and therein lies the beginning of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. Please, dear VT Democrats (who control the votes in our House and Senate), please at least vote for this bill.

Louis Sullivan
3 years 5 months ago

That isn’t as popular as you might think. Many people keep guns for self defense. A gun that is locked in a safe is useless when you only have seconds to get to it.

Lori Ranney
3 years 5 months ago

I agree Louis and equally disturbing is bill by George Till H.336 which is wrapped under the guise of enhancing penalities for carrying a firearms while committing a felony and to make the crime of reckless endangerment when it involves the use of a firearm. However this bill fails to draw the distinction between using a firearm for self-defense.

In order words this bill would make it illegal for you to use a firearm in self defense…

http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/bills/Intro/H-336.pdf

Valerie Harriss
3 years 5 months ago

Ann, what idiotic rationale; especially if someone is willing to kill you in order to take them, locked up or not!

Lori Ranney
3 years 5 months ago

Ann – Eighth paragraph down in this CNN article – refers to Nancy Lanza’s firearms were locked up probably because of Adam.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/16/us/connecticut-nancy-lanza-profile

Friend, classmate describe family

A friend of Nancy Lanza, who had done contracting work for her, was last in the home eight months ago and remembers seeing a lock box in the basement where Lanza kept her guns.

However I wasn’t there and I doubt if you were either.

krister adams
3 years 5 months ago

Give me a break. Mrs. Lanza kept guns (locked or not) in basement where she was perfectly aware disturbed Adam played hours of ultra-violent video games? She took him to the firing range regulary? Someone remembers seeing a gun cabinet in the basement? Was he/she sure it was locked? Were all the guns in there? Where was the key? We’re to believe he didn’t have access to the gun cabinet key/lock?

christine labarre
3 years 5 months ago

Passing a law that states i should keep my guns locked away basically kills gun rights. I own a gun for protection. it doesn’t do me much good if i wake up in the middle of thei night with an intruder coming into my bedroom and it’s locked up in the basement somewhere in a gun cabinet. Even if they pass such a law i wouldn’t follow it. It’s my house no one can tell me what to do in my house.

krister adams
3 years 5 months ago

“Even if they pass such a law i wouldn’t follow it. It’s my house no one can tell me what to do in my house.”

Do you cook meth in your house? Do you molest children in your house? Do you allow underage drinking in your house?

Hod Palmer,
3 years 5 months ago

Anne

I think that’s Sandy Hook, not Sandy Ridge

George Coppenrath
3 years 5 months ago

@Anne… “It does not limit the sale of assault-style weapons like those used to kill 20 young children in Newtown, Conn., last December.” Can you advise or inform as to specifically which weapon(s) was used that meets your definition of “assault-style” weapons? I am not sure what “assault style” means, but my understanding of the facts is that the mentally ill young man used hand guns?

Tom Boyce
3 years 5 months ago

Sorry, Anne Galloway. Your information is incorrect. The Bushmaster AR-15 was *not* used in the killings of those innocent children in Sandy Hook, CT. Instead, the weapon you mention was located in the killer’s vehicle. Oops.

Louis Sullivan
3 years 5 months ago

Actually, the weapon in the vehicle was a shotgun. The AR-15 was confirmed to be the weapon used by the coroner’s report, which found rifle bullet wounds.

timothy price
3 years 5 months ago

Am greatly encouraged by the wisdom that Vermonters are showing around this controversial issue, especially as it is being used to weaken the defenses of the people and has nothing to do with safety.

Arthur Hamlin
3 years 5 months ago

But keeping a gun in your home makes you and your family less safe! Guns are almost never used in actual self defense. I am greatly discouraged by the willful disregard of the facts by gun advocates.

Louis Sullivan
3 years 5 months ago

This is completely false. Many surveys conducted on this subject suggest numbers ranging from a conservative estimate of 800,000 to a broader 2,500,000 cases of guns used in self defense every year. http://www.guncite.com/kleckandgertztable1.html

Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago
This sounds a bit like the old saw that a firearm in ones home was more likely to KILL a member of the family than an intruder. That strange argument while true ignored that simple fact that most firearms owners would not wish to kill an intruder. As you may not realize, beyond our humanitarian side, being brought up on charges of manslaughter or murder for killing said intruder. That said, the possibility of being shot or detained by an armed home owner could be seen by one lacking bias as a deterrent for home invasion and encouragement to seek… Read more »
Kristin Sohlstrom
3 years 5 months ago

Thank you, Linda Wait-Simpson for exposing the narrow-mindedness of the liberal left. According to you, only angry straight people believe in Second Amendment rights. Way to be open-minded and diverse!

In case you weren’t aware, AMERICANS believe in Second Amendment rights and there’s no delineation of government-defined minority status within that statement. You can be gay and be armed. Welcome to the 21st century.

Those of you who support Linda Waite-Simpson regardless of government-defined minority status better think twice. She doesn’t really believe in your rights as Americans.

Valerie Harriss
3 years 5 months ago

Right on Kristin, gun ownership does not discriminate.

Walter Carpenter
3 years 5 months ago
“she doesn’t believe in your rights as Americans.” I am American. I am of the liberal left and proud of it. I am also the survivor of a random drive-by shooting. I also have a right as an American — or at least I think I do, although the constitution does not explicity state it– not to be shot at randomly because of the second amendment and the sheer proliferation of guns it encourages. As a survivor of a deliberate attempt of someone else with a gunt to put bullets into me, I believe in rep. Simpson’s bill. Does that… Read more »
Kristin Sohlstrom
3 years 5 months ago

It’s fine with me that there are people who believe in Rep. Simpson’s bill. If you read what I wrote, that not what I’m addressing. See Bob Pierre’s post. It underscores her narrow-minded viewpoint of who actually owns guns legally.

3 years 5 months ago

Walter,

While I sympathize with you regarding the terrible violence that was perpetrated against you, the reality is that this bill would have done nothing to prevent the incident from happening. A criminal does not follow the law. Also, I will make an assumption here that a handgun was used in the drive-by shooting, since handguns account for an overwhelming majority of such crimes. Banning “assault weapons” (i.e. black, scary looking semi-automatic firearms) and “high capacity magazines” (i.e. standard capacity magazines) would do nothing to discourage or prevent this.

Walter Carpenter
3 years 5 months ago
“While I sympathize with you regarding the terrible violence that was perpetrated against you, the reality is that this bill would have done nothing to prevent the incident from happening.” Nic: Your assumption is incorrect. It was a rifle. We never found out what kind it was, though we did figure out that it was a semi. We never knew who the shooters were or why. Yet, if this law or others had been in effect, they may not have been able to get their hands on whatever kind of rifle it was to blast away at us for whatever… Read more »
Louis Sullivan
3 years 5 months ago

As awful as this must have been for you, the reality is that no assault weapons ban would have prevented it. There is no mechanical difference between a hunting rifle and an assault weapon, which is why so many are opposed to the legislation.

3 years 5 months ago

Also, requiring background checks at gun shows would not stop the majority of gun crimes. In a large study of incarcerated perpetrators of gun violence, it was determined that 80% of gun crimes were committed with firearms that had been legally purchased and owned by a family or friend of the convict or procured through illegal street sales.

krister adams
3 years 5 months ago

So, to hell with trying to make the world a safer place because the gun-community believes “requiring background checks at gun shows would not stop the majority of gun crimes”? How do we know? And if backgroud checks stop one innocent luife from being lost, why not do it? What is the big deal?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tom Boyce
3 years 5 months ago

Thank you, Walter, for tacitly arguing IN FAVOR of the 2nd Amendment! And you are incorrect, sir, that the law does not address those criminals who attempt to murder another individual.

Tom Boyce
3 years 5 months ago

Correct, Kristin. Evil does exists, and many women are well-armed for self-defense purposes. Most of these citizens well-know how to use them, too. Democrats, socialists, republicans, and independents whether they are male, female, gay and non-gay, religious and non-religious, etc… are regularly armed for that very purpose (self-defense of their families, their properties, and themselves).

Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago

I have to laugh over that because of a good memory of a lesbian friend trashing me for buying a revolver many years ago then in the same breath asking if she could shoot it.

roberta barone
3 years 5 months ago

It is outrageous that any polititian would allow intimidation to limit discussion and public testimony on issues that affect all Vermonters. Where is the logic of limiting the first amendment in order to protect the second?

Louis Sullivan
3 years 5 months ago

They are worried that people would not vote for them in the future, and as well they should be. If your representative is voting against what you want, you shouldn’t vote for them. THAT is free speech.

George Coppenrath
3 years 5 months ago

@Anne, you are incorrect, the Bushmaster AR-15 was not used in the shooting at Sandy Hook. Please double check your facts.

3 years 5 months ago

Please do the same, George. Lanza used a handgun to shoot himself, prior to that, assault rifle. I’m not hugely fond of the loaded term, either, but it’s in common usage prior to be politicized and not inaccurate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_shooting#Shootings

I assume you’re basing your point on the fact an XM15 has a different name, despite being manufactured by Bushmaster and being an assault rifle designed on the AR15 frame?

Tom Boyce
3 years 5 months ago

Sorry, Justin Boland, but your information is highly incorrect (especially if you are using Wikipedia.org are your source). The Bushmaster was found in the killer’s vehicle long after the killer ended that horrible tragedy by killing himself. So, ask yourself this question … how did the Bushmaster AR-15 get into the vehicle once the killed offed himself INSIDE the school? (raised eyebrow)

3 years 5 months ago

You do at least realize that Wikipedia has sources, right?

Louis Sullivan
3 years 5 months ago

The police report should be the only source needed here. They report finding the two pistols and the AR-15 inside the school, and pulling a Saiga-12 shotgun (which looks very similar to an AR-15 from a distance) from the car.

3 years 5 months ago

Lotta factchecking going on here today…..

As to, “assault rifle” there was no “assault rifle” present at Newtown:

“An assault rifle is a selective fire (selective between automatic, semi-automatic, and burst fire) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.[1] Assault rifles are the standard service rifles in most modern armies. ” -wiki

Don’t confuse that with “assault WEAPON”, which is nothing more nor less than a political term…like “defense of marriage” or “partial birth abortion”, it has no relevance outside of politics.

http://www.assaultweapon.info/

Daniel Barlow
3 years 5 months ago

Actually, the Bushmaster AR-15 was one of the weapons (along with two handguns) used in the Sandy Hook school shooting. The weapon removed from the young man’s vehicle – which conspiracy theorists have seized on as “evidence” of a cover-up – was actually a shotgun.

Slate.com had a good round-up of some of the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories – and the truth of what happened – here: http://www.salon.com/2013/01/18/your_comprehensive_answer_to_every_sandy_hook_conspiracy_theory/

Bob Pierre
3 years 5 months ago
I have to agree with most of the commentators when they say that is more an “op-ed” than a news article. It should be filed under “Editorial” rather than news. Also, I am a registered Democrat and a vocal supporter of marriage equality, and abortion rights. I take great offense to being compared too and/or thrown into a group like “Take Back Vermont”. Just because I support the Second Amendment and Article 16 does NOT make me a Conservative or a Republican!! Linda/Ann…DO SOME HOMEWORK!!! I am a proud member of the Liberal Gun Club! http://www.theliberalgunclub.com/ BTW, IF you were… Read more »
Kristin Sohlstrom
3 years 5 months ago

Now you know what it’s like to belong to the Republican Party and/or Tea Party and have lies told about who you are as a person. Welcome to the club. Good post, stay strong.

Douglas Duprey
3 years 5 months ago

I think these people who want to limit my 2nd Amendment rights are neither wise nor knowledgeable. They don’t know what firearms are used during what crime. They want me to lock up my firearm so I can not defend myself or family in my own home. Pressure needs to be kept up. Janet Ancel is one who is for gun “control” and anti-second amendment. She represents Marshfield where I live. I will be encouraging my fellow people NOT to re-elect her.

sandra bettis
3 years 5 months ago
if you read the opinions listed above, it is easy to see why we need more effective gun laws. but, alas, paranoia seems to rule… you MIGHT be attacked in your home….a gun in the first act goes off in the third…if you have a gun in your home, it is 3 times more likely someone will be killed by it – in your home! and 5 times more likely that someone will take their own life – in your home!!! and how would any of these new laws affect hunting in vt? they wouldn’t! unless you shoot your deer… Read more »
Louis Sullivan
3 years 5 months ago

Isn’t it up to us to decide how we balance risks and rewards with regards to our own lives? Having a stove, fireplace, or even a Christmas tree in your house greatly increases the chances of your house burning down, but people who have these things have decided that the risk is worth any rewards they get from it. Also, I would like to point out that the study that came up with those numbers included guns brought into the home by someone else with the intent of using them.

3 years 5 months ago
I don’t think too many folks are too worried about your assault stove, fireplace or Christmas tree sending someone to the hospital or the morgue. This is an odd analogy. Care to try again? Also, regards “opinion” versus news stories: This story contains lots of statements and opinions by those interviewed. You can agree or disagree with them – in fact that’s what Anne Galloway and all of us at Digger write these stories for. An opinion piece or editorial is one that is labeled as commentary and the writer takes a specific point of view. Obviously not the case… Read more »
krister adams
3 years 5 months ago

Do you also have a meth lab in you house?

Lori Ranney
3 years 5 months ago
Dear Sandra – my opnions are not paranoia, but based upon the accumulation of life experience. As a survivor of domestic abuse, familiar with temporary restraining orders and some of the workings of our court system. I thought this part of my life was behind me, but one evening alone in my Barre apartment someone tried to pry open my window while I was there! I will never forget the sound of those window shaking so loudly as they were trying to gain access to my home. I was very frightened. I shut off the lights immediately because I felt… Read more »
Kim West
3 years 5 months ago
Sandra Bettis, in Vermont it isn’t that we might be attacked in our own homes, it is because we have guns that criminals are deterred. The states with the strictest gun laws have the highest crime rates. In 2004 in the entire state of Vermont there were only 4 deaths attributed to guns. In Feb. 2013 in 34 days there were 42 gun deaths in Chicago. Gun laws do not work. Your stats obviously do not refer to Vermont. Otherwise we would have a much smaller population since the majority of homes in Vermont do have guns making us 3… Read more »
Arthur Hamlin
3 years 5 months ago
I disagree with your logic. Vermont’s lack of gun laws is not the reason there is less crime. Guns are not a deterrent to criminals; if anything a criminal is more likely to break in if they know you have a gun to steal it. The fact is that people with guns in their homes are more likely to be victims of gun violence. The guns do not make you safer. You can’t use Chicago as proof that gun laws don’t work either. Most of the guns used in crimes in Chicago are bought just outside the city limits where… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

And so Linda Waite-Simpson, in the wake of the failure of her attack on the rights of law abiding gun owners, descends to new depths by associating the opponents of her legislation with a group of homophobic bigots.
Disgusting, reprehensible, and utterly beneath contempt.

Lori Ranney
3 years 5 months ago
I am very disappointed and insulted by your statement in the Green Mountain Daily calling gun rights advocates homophobic bigots. We expect more of our Vermont legislators than to resort to new lows such as name calling and smears of your constituents. I guess Linda doesn’t think there are soldiers who serve in the military who are gay or there are gay gun owners out there. It is amazing to be known as a liberal yet be so narrow minded in your world perceptions. Reference: http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/diary/9745/linda-waitesimpson-equates-gun-rights-advocates-with-homophobic-bigots Why is this article wrapped under the guise as “news” when it is a… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

Thanks for the link, Lori. The statement was lifted from this piece, which the GMD post is a response to. 🙂

David Usher
3 years 5 months ago

Thanks, Digger, for not limiting comments on this posting.

Most, but not all, legislators have heard the clear message about 2nd Amendment concerns and decided to leave Vermont’s gun rights alone. Those that are deaf to the people’s voice about restricting gun ownership don’t deserve reelection.

Now, if they would drop doctor-assisted suicide and spend serious time and energy resolving the State’s fiscal issues we would have far more confidence that they truly understand the economic issues facing Vermont.

3 years 5 months ago
Isn’t this what being a REPRESENTATIVE is all about? If you vote a certain way, that you know is against the interest of your constituents, are you really being a representative? During her press conference, Linda highlighted the fact that she believes that most people in her district support her legislation, which was why she was pursuing it, and was not deterred by protest from other districts. Why does she seem so hostile and resort to name-calling when representatives FROM those other districts try to the implement the same logic – voting with THEIR constituency – when they decide to… Read more »
Bob DePino
3 years 5 months ago
Paul, your logic is correct AND it is backed by law: CHAPTER II. PLAN OR FRAME OF GOVERNMENT LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT § 16. Representatives’ oaths The Representatives … following oath or affirmation: You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this Assembly, you will not PROPOSE, or assent to, any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to you injurious to the people, nor do nor consent to any act or thing whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or ABRIDGE their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State; but will, in all… Read more »
timothy price
3 years 5 months ago
If the people would pursue false-flag attacks with thorough “independent” investigations, and expose and then prosecute those involved, it would reduce much of the gun violence in the USA. We are now a people who are distrustful of the government, the media, and increasingly, each other. This distrust is a tool that is used by those who would destroy our nation. We do not need to restrict our rights, or our access to drugs, to medication, to treatment, to defensive weapons. We need to educate and to foster honor among ourselves and demand it of our politicians, our financial services,… Read more »
Lori Ranney
3 years 5 months ago

Kudos to the VT Digger for not censuring posts. This is a sensitive topic with many varying opinions. It is good to be able to read all the opinons.

Thank you!

Cynthia Beaudette
3 years 5 months ago
THe Right to bear arms was not established for self protection, although that is a given. It was not to allow for hunting, although guns come in handy for that too. It is evident that this Right, which shall not be infringed, was established because the Founding Fathers believed, that a government which is fearful of it’s citizens, will maintain FREEDOM. When you have a people who are fearful of their government, you have TRYANNY. Unarmed citizens are sitting ducks when the powerful decide to assert themselves. History shows that an oligarchy is even more likely after disarming it’s citizens.… Read more »
Walter Carpenter
3 years 5 months ago
“It is evident that this Right, which shall not be infringed, was established because the Founding Fathers believed, that a government which is fearful of it’s citizens, will maintain FREEDOM.” Cynthia, I wonder if the founding fathers would deliberately want to have a citizenry armed to the hilt in order to be fearful of it so that they start a revolution and overthrow it at any time. Somehow, this does not make sense. Perhaps a more telling reason for the second is below. Many members of newly formed government, especially those from slave-holding states, fear uprisings from those they owned… Read more »
Douglas Duprey
3 years 5 months ago
From Thomas Jefferson a Founding Father and writer of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson certainly would have us armed to the teeth and more to out gun our Gov’t. Your argument is flawed that the Founders would not want us to out gun them due to chance of being over thrown. Excerpt from the letter he wrote To William S. Smith Paris, Nov. 13, 1787 “God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
Cynthia – the 2nd amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It is about right to bear weaponry in defense of the STATE within the context of a well regulated militia. It has nothing to do with a personal desire to overthrow the government, it has nothing to do with self defense, and it has nothing to do with hunting. The Vermont constitution enshrines your right to self defense, and by virtue of that the Vermont Supreme Court has… Read more »
Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago

OK you keep setting yourself up as an expert on constitutional law. What pray tell are your educational qualifications?

Would I be correct in assuming that you’ve read a few things on line that back the opinion you already held?

For what it’s worth my degree is accounting and much of what you say does not “add up”.

3 years 5 months ago

So please tell me where the wording I presented above is incorrect.

Nick Olcott
3 years 5 months ago

Rama, Please cite the law or case law that you claim gives the State of VT the right to curtail or regulate our use of long guns??

John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago
“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone throughthe 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott 333. … Although we do not undertake anexhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of theSecond Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or… Read more »
Nick Olcott
3 years 5 months ago
John, You are citing federal case law I was really hoping to hear from Rama on this one. Rama refers to VT Law only. “The Vermont constitution enshrines your right to self defense, and by virtue of that the Vermont Supreme Court has found that handguns are an appropriate extension of that right. Under Vermont law your ability to own and use long barreled firearms (I’m talking rifles, shotguns and other firearms generally used for hunting) can be, and for that matter is, restricted.” That is what I was referring to. I could be wrong but I really am not… Read more »
John Greenberg
3 years 5 months ago

Nick —

I don’t agree with Heller either. I think the decision was poorly reasoned, ignored obvious principles of interpretation and reached the wrong result. It was eviscerated in brilliant detail by Justice Stevens in his dissent.

I provided the language because you asked for cases and I’d read this one recently enough to be able to find the quote easily.

Jason Farrell
3 years 5 months ago
Nick – There is Vermont case law that suggests the right to bear arms can be legally limited by statute. The case is “State of Vermont v. Carroll Duranleau (1969)”. I link to the decision below, but here’s the most important part of the decision that supports Rama’s contention that Vermonter’s gun rights can be, and are, legally restricted: “But the language of the constitutional provision does not suggest that the right to bear arms is unlimited and undefinable.” http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3007245571763814043&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr The question the state supreme court was deciding in 1969 was the conviction of Mr. Duranleau for a violation of… Read more »
Jason Farrell
3 years 5 months ago

“This is a public health issue,” Clark said. “It’s not like plowing new ground. If we do nothing, fear wins, and I am tired of being dictated by fear.”

If Rep. Clark chooses to submit legislation to do something to curtail a “public health issue” that doesn’t exist in Vermont, then fear has won. Stop allowing fear to dictate which ground to plow.

Walter Carpenter
3 years 5 months ago

“If Rep. Clark chooses to submit legislation to do something to curtail a “public health issue” that doesn’t exist in Vermont, then fear has won.”

You never know when it will happen and when it does, then this will become a public health issue.

Patrick Cashman
3 years 5 months ago

“Public Health Issue”.
Personally I have started noticing that phrase appearing more and more. As soon as one group of people want to dictate, define, or otherwise restrict the rights of others, declaring a “Public Health Issue” is somehow supposed to mean basic rights are no longer relevant. It’s as if they are conceding you have a right, they are just claiming a superior position from which to ignore that right.

Kim West
3 years 5 months ago

from Shap Smith “He said lawmakers need to define “the problem we’re trying to fix first.”
There in lies the rub. In Vermont we do not have a problem.

I am sick and tired of hearing the anti-gun folks exploiting the poor souls that died in Newtown. It discusts me and yet they continue, trying to whip up an hysteria over gun ownership.

Ron Pulcer
3 years 5 months ago
Regarding: ‘He (Speaker Shap Smith) said lawmakers need to define “the problem we’re trying to fix first.”’ I don’t know what the answers are, but I think I can (try) to answer Speaker Smith’s question as to some of the “problems”. The problem is not just Sandy Hook, or what kind of weapon did Adam Lanza use (i.e. what’s the definition of “assault weapon”). Sandy Hook was just the catalyst for this heightened, yet ongoing debate. It’s not just about one incident or one type of weapon. The problem did not start in the past few years (Columbine, Virginia Tech,… Read more »
Chris Lewis
3 years 5 months ago

The shocking thing about your comment is that Mr Ciotti, who’s gun was used in the Boston murder, is still gainfully employed by the state of Vermont as an investigator on the Vermont Medical Board.

Walter Carpenter
3 years 5 months ago
“But back then politicians in Washington or Lansing didn’t seem to care, because it was often referred to as “black-on-black” crime or murder.” Ron, I think you’re right on here. I grew up outside of Boston, another murder capital, back in the 60’s/70’s. The politicians back then hardly seemed to care about the problem because it was mostly afro-Americans, hispanics, other minority populations, or poor white people who were the ones getting shot and no one cared much about them. It was, in general, when the middle-class got hit that the headlines blew up with how we have a problem… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago

A simple start:

1) Require every firearm be accompanied by a title that connects that specific firearm to an individual or business. That title must be transferred along with a change of ownership whenever that firearm is transferred to another individual or business.

2) Require ballistic finger printing of every firearm and make it illegal to change the barrel of that firearm without submitting a new round for ballistic finger printing.

3) Require full background checks for both parties for any and all transfers of firearms.

Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago

http://www.umass.edu/aesop/content.php?n=3&i=1

The logistics alone of your plan make it impractical even if it were of any real world use.

Deal with the root causes of the real patterns of violence instead of wailing along with the latest media fueled panic.

Violence is a complex, multifaceted problem. Regulating legal ownership of firearms by law abiding people cannot fix the real problems.

3 years 5 months ago
Titles for firearms is not impractical – it will take effort but it’s eminently doable. The real world use is simple: start tracking where firearms came from and where they went to. There is no other way we can start holding the irresponsible responsible for how they sell, purchase or otherwise transfer firearms. We can place a title with every automobile in the country – we sure as hell have the infrastructure and capacity to do the same with firearms. Sure – guns don’t kill people, but neither do people with guns – the projectiles ejected out the barrel at… Read more »
Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago

“The estimated total number of guns held by civilians in the United States is 270,000,0001”

http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states

How do you plan to bell that cat Rama? Enter everyones home and do a search to see what they have for firearms?

Perhaps you’re thinking that because an “angry school board” member from VT wills it all will cooperate?.

Welcome to the real world.

3 years 5 months ago

To paraphrase (or maybe accidentally quote): “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

There’s a process that starts with the low hanging fruit (see – if we’re going for a long walk we need some food). New sales, public sales, hunting licenses – these would all make for the perfect time to say “What firearm is involved? Let’s get a title on that.” Many states require licenses for concealed carry permits – perfect time to say “Titled handguns only.”

Those are just examples.

One thing that absolutely cannot be done is nothing.

kevin lawrence
3 years 5 months ago

Not surprising that the issue of mental health services and screening stays off the political radar yet again as it relates to gun violence.
And, why was this article an opinion piece? I never read an answer to that question as posted by 4-5 folks above.

Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago

“why was this article an opinion piece?”

Because of Galloway trying to lead the opinion of the readers rather than to simply state the facts. Look to her choice of emotionally charged wording and it becomes quite apparent.

Having known Anne for over twenty years it might be a little easier for me to see her patterns but, the technique is a fairly basic one used by people trying to sway the opinions of others by playing to emotional triggers.

Dave Bellini
3 years 5 months ago
1. Why not allow Vermont law enforcement to enforce the federal law regarding convicted felons? There’s nothing controversial about that. 2. If politicians were truly serious about reducing the number of mass shootings, they would have to discuss mental illness. Many of these shooters should have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution long ago. The person who shot Rep. Giffords and the Colorado movie theatre shooter are exhibits 1 and 2 of the failed “mental health system.” Closing down all mental institutions and pretending EVERYONE can be treated in the community is in itself, delusional. We are no wiser… Read more »
Nick Olcott
3 years 5 months ago
Dave, Vermont Police are not allowed to make an arrest for a felon in possession of a firearm as that would be in direct violation of our STATE CONSTITUTION. Why dont the feds allow felons to have firearm? To make liberals feel good plain and simple. I think the average person commits three felonys a day unknowingly. Now if felons are so scary why did we let them out in the first place? Do they not have a right to re enter society with the full rights of everyone else? They did their time yes?? If you can vote, pay… Read more »
Stan Shapiro
3 years 5 months ago

Based on the number of comments I thought this must be a piece on industrial wind turbines.

3 years 5 months ago
Okay, you got me there, Bill. So no ballistic finger printing where it’s not possible – I’ll go for that. We go back to Clinton’s idea of tagging the explosives but in this case apply it to the propellent used in the shotgun shells (or any other ballistic round for that matter). Every batch of ballistic propellent is properly tagged, and the both the seller and purchaser have to provide proof of identity. However we get there in my opinion we need to get a handle on where the firearms are coming from and where they are going and how.… Read more »
3 years 5 months ago
Of course you could work around anything you set your mind to working around, Bill, but that doesn’t mean we don’t start at some point. Oh – and law breakers by definition are breaking the law, no? Automobiles are titled and stolen vehicles, especially well marked auto parts such as blocks that have VINs stamped on them, can be tracked to a good degree. Is it a perfect system? absolutely not – but it does address some huge percentage of the problems with stolen cars beginning with the concept that most cars are never stolen. I’m pushing for a similar… Read more »
Ron Pulcer
3 years 5 months ago
Here are some things I’ve been pondering (well before Sandy Hook, how about Tuscon, AZ and VA Tech): If Americans are killed by box-cutter wielding foreign terrorists, most of the elected politicians know exactly what to do: invade the wrong country (Iraq). If Americans are killed by other gun-wielding Americans, most of our elected politicians know exactly what to do: run away from the NRA and Wayne LaLaLaPierre, blame video games and movies, and complain instead about drones. How many Americans have been killed by drones on American soil since December 14th, 2012? I don’t know, but maybe Sen. Rand… Read more »
Walter Carpenter
3 years 5 months ago

“Violence is a complex, multifaceted problem. Regulating legal ownership of firearms by law abiding people cannot fix the real problems.”

Well, we lost four more of our fellow countrymen in yet another massacre by gun in New York state today. Once again, the shooter was a local guy, not some crazed criminal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21776079

Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago

You seem to have a great deal more information than the press does. How is that?

Again, violence is a complex problem. You seem to be confabulating a story here. “Just a regular guy that decided to kill four people”

What is the real story? We don’t REALLY know yet.

No sense letting that get in the way of your agenda though is there?

As for me I’m OK with waiting for the facts rather than settling for bises hysteria.

3 years 5 months ago

Nick – Vermont law and hunting regulations make it illegal to carry a loaded rifle in your vehicle – I know this beyond a shadow of doubt because I’ve watched a friend get fined and have his rifle confiscated for just this act. Vermont cannot tell you you can’t have a loaded handgun in your car.

Jason Farrell
3 years 5 months ago
From Title 10: Conservation and Development Chapter 113: GAME 10 V.S.A. § 4705. Shooting from motor vehicles or aircraft; permit “(b) A person shall not carry or possess while in or on a vehicle propelled by mechanical power or drawn by a vehicle propelled by mechanical power within the right of way of a public highway a rifle or shotgun containing a loaded cartridge or shell in the chamber, mechanism, or in a magazine, or clip within a rifle or shotgun, or a muzzle-loading rifle or shotgun that has been charged with powder and projectile and the ignition system of… Read more »
Jason Farrell
3 years 5 months ago
I posted the statute to support Rama’s claim that gun rights have been legally restricted in the state of Vermont. The statute I posted has been on the books for over forty years in Vermont. It’s clearly a restriction on one’s unlimited right to bear arms, and it has withstood a legal test that was answered by our state’s highest court. As you point out, the statute doesn’t include handguns (which Rama also pointed out), but Vermont’s Supreme Court did rule in Duranleau that “the language of the constitutional provision (Article 16) does not suggest that the right to bear… Read more »
sandra bettis
3 years 5 months ago

death threats really deter lawmakers from their task.

Stuart Hill
3 years 5 months ago

What death threats?

sandra bettis
3 years 5 months ago

why would any sane person oppose these measures? oh yeh, i guess the answer to that is evident in this discussion.

Bob Pierre
1 year 9 months ago

As followup on this…
Where is Linda Waite-Simpson???

Oops! She came in last! Next time she will listen to her constiuents. “NO ON GUN CONTROL”

Buh-By!

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