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.

Follow Anne on Twitter @GallowayVTD

Anne GallowayAnne Galloway

Comments

  1. Stuart Hill :

    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?

  2. David Black :

    “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.

  3. Chris Robinson :

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

  4. Ann Raynolds :

    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 :

      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 :

        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 :

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

    • Lori Ranney :

      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 :

        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 :

      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 :

        “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?

  5. Hod Palmer, :

    Anne

    I think that’s Sandy Hook, not Sandy Ridge

  6. George Coppenrath :

    @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?

    • Bushmaster AR-15

    • Tom Boyce :

      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 :

        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.

  7. timothy price :

    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 :

      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 :

        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 :

        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 a easier target.

        Many years ago my late wife and I were having serious problems with several “bad people” for not going along with their crimes. Let’s just say that our area did not have as high of a quality police department at the time and leave it at that.

        Even though at least one of the parties was quite capable of justifying violence on us in his twisted logic there was no such action taken against us. A dog was poisoned, vehicles were sabotaged and other actions were taken they did not cross that line.

        Why? Because they knew that both my wife and I would shoot to kill if our lives were put at risk.

        Neither of us wanted it to come to that. We had no inclination to seek revenge for my wife’s furry baby Oberon or the material goods. Despite the image you may have gotten of us in Juedevine, Deliverance or other bigoted fiction we rural dwellers are not violent, mouth breathing heathens. Conversely we are not all simpering victims waiting quietly to be abused.

        Many of the arguments I’m seeing for proposed restrictions are based on hysterical fantasies. No one seems to be willing to talk about the realities of violence and it’s causes. To see some of the strange tales spun it seems many of you live in a very horrifying alternative reality.

      • Brian Shaw :

        Mine has served to protect my family perfectly well with no harm coming to anyone. If you are going to lie at least try to back it with fact.

  8. Kristin Sohlstrom :

    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 :

      Right on Kristin, gun ownership does not discriminate.

    • Walter Carpenter :

      “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 make me “un-American?”

      • Kristin Sohlstrom :

        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.

      • 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 :

          “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 reasons they did. While I agree that this law would not have accomplished much, it would have been an important baby step towards some kind of sanity.

          When it is your turn to get shot at — and it could happen, at any time and anyplace, at any moment — you will understand why I think that this bill is a good idea. Below are some interesting statistics about our love affair with the second. Since Sandy Hook, over 2,000 Americans have been killed by some form of gun violence, whether by accidents, by their own hands, or someone else’s.

          http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/Facts/Gun_Death_and_Injury_Stat_Sheet_2008__2009_FINAL.pdf

          http://nocera.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/the-gun-report-march-6-2013/

          • Louis Sullivan :

            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.

      • 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 :

          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 :

        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 :

      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 :

      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.

  9. roberta barone :

    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 :

      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.

  10. George Coppenrath :

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

    • 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 :

        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)

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

        • Louis Sullivan :

          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.

      • 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 :

      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/

  11. Bob Pierre :

    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 at the Pro-Gun Rallies and the BTV City Council meeting on Assault Weapons charter change, you would know that members of our group(they included Occupy Burlington, members of the Prog and Green Party) were THERE!! We spoke and represented those of us that are Liberal.

    Don’t generalize and throw us under the bus.

    • Kristin Sohlstrom :

      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.

  12. Douglas Duprey :

    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.

  13. sandra bettis :

    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 with an uzi!!!

    • Louis Sullivan :

      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.

      • Andrew Nemethy :

        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 here. Hope that clarifies things.

      • krister adams :

        Do you also have a meth lab in you house?

    • Lori Ranney :

      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 I knew my apartment best and they did not. I grabbed my keys, purse and phone, dialed 911 while making my way outdoors. I did not know if the individual had others outside my door waiting for me. I could not believe it when the 911 operator hung up on me. I called her back relayed my location and info. I could see the police cruiser drive in my yard. I made my way out and stood under the yard light waving and hollering to the police only to have them wave, flash their lights and back out of my yard! I dialed again and the police came back. Lucky for me whoever it was did not gain access, I never knew who it was whether it was my ex-husband or not.

      I moved from Barre and went to Southern VT. A few months later a dear friend of mine that lived in Southwestern VT was brutually stabbed to death by teenager in his shop.

      I wish my friend was armed, perhaps they would have been alive today.

      So please do not dimish and attack people’s life experiences and beliefs by lumping together as paranoia because it does not agree with your personal beliefs.

      Be well. Thank you.

    • Kim West :

      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 times more likely to be shot. And yet, here we are.

      • Arthur Hamlin :

        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 there are no gun laws.

  14. 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.

  15. Lori Ranney :

    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 subjective, opinion piece? Since the Digger is printing an opinion piece – here is my opinion –

    Vermont has one of the lowest gun crimes in the nation – unlike Chicago, California, NY, DC areas with stringent gun control laws.

    Gun control means one thing – people control. Statistics over and over again show gun control does not work.

    Our own Vice President Joe Biden has been on record stating that gun control will not stop the shootings. The depraved and rogue criminal element are not suddenly going to be hit with conscience and say – wow I have a 20 round magazine, the law says I can only have a 5 round magazine – I must turn it in. Sorry not going to happen. Nor will these individuals submit to the background check to acquire a firearm. Won’t happen. What these bills will do to deprave law abiding citizens of their right to bear arms – Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution.

    The government whether it be state, federal or local has no business dictating to people how to store their firearms. If people have small children they will take the proper steps to render it safe without government intervention, they have been doing this for hundreds of years.

    Another point of view is a locked up firearm renders it inaccessible thus preventing people to access it quickly for protection during a home invasion. You can not count on the police being able to answer each and every 911 phone call. The police are not omnipresent.

    Of course bill No H.336 by Rep. George Till makes it virtually a crime to use a firearm for self-defense.

    No to any and all gun control measures.

    Please call the good folks at the Sgt. at Arms at 802-828-2228 ask then to deliver a pink mail message to Linda Waite-Simpson –

    1) you are insulted that she would resort to such a new low to smear Vermonters by calling gun rights advocates as homophobic

    2) no to any and all anti-gun legislation

    3) remind her of her oath of office to uphold the Vermont Constitution that includes Article 16, right to bear arms.

    Peace and be well.

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

  16. David Usher :

    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.

  17. 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 oppose her bill?

    I am very thankful that Judiciary Chairman Bill Lippert sees that Vermont has far more important and productive things to do that to get bogged down with this issue. I imagine that more pink mail is getting sent regarding gun rights than almost anything else in the legislature. It’s time to move on to other things that Vermonters have a wider consensus about than restricting one another’s rights.

    • Bob DePino :

      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 things, conduct yourself as a faithful, honest Representative and guardian of the people, according to the best of your judgment and ability. (In case of an oath) So help you God. (Or in case of an affirmation) Under the pains and penalties of perjury.

  18. timothy price :

    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, or schools, our government, and our press. A happy, prosperous people that is at all time honorable, is not violent.

  19. Lori Ranney :

    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!

    • Brian Shaw :

      That is a rather nice change isn’t it.

  20. Cynthia Beaudette :

    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.
    I am fearful of this government which is now purchasing for Homeland Security tanks, and enough ammo, (over a billion rounds), for a 20 year war. Why? For target practice? I am concerned by a government that even considers it is fine to release 15 thousand drones to survey it’s citizens and that is not considered an invasion of a right to privacy. Not one member of Congress was concerned. Up until Rand Paul took a stand last week, it was OK for this administration to kill any American suspected by this administration of being a terrorist by drone stike,on American soil without due process. I am concerned by an administration so small minded,it would cancel White House tours of the Peoples’ House, not because of real budget constraints but to stick it to their political opponents all the while spending over a billion dollars on family vactions and golf matches.

    Socialism is for the people. Never the Socialist.

    • Walter Carpenter :

      “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 by force and having militias put their minds at ease.

      I do agree with you on one point in “Socialism is for the people.” Yes, it is..

      http://americablog.com/2013/01/the-second-amendment-was-ratified-to-preserve-slavery.html

      • Douglas Duprey :

        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 facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. “

    • 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 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.

      • Stuart Hill :

        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”.

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

          • Nick Olcott :

            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 :

            “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 laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” (Heller pp. 54-55)

          • Nick Olcott :

            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 aware of any case law in VT that restricts our use of firearms. If you or Rama are aware of how that statement could be true I would really like to read up on the case.

            And John I am very aware of the Heller case and a few others. While I dont agree I do respect that without legislative change those rulings are basically law of the land.

          • John Greenberg :

            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 :

            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 10 V.S.A. § 4705(b) which makes it a criminal offense to carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in a vehicle on a public highway without a special permit. The law found the restriction to be lawful, even when considering Article 16 of Vermont’s constitution. And, the law is still on the books.

            http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullsection.cfm?Title=10&Chapter=113&Section=04705

  21. Jason Farrell :

    “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 :

      “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.

      • Brian Shaw :

        Life is replete with uncertainties. By your argument it paints a vivid support for the 2nd amendment. In the absence of firearms or restricted ownership for the individual things could and will very quickly become a public health issue as criminals will always have access to firearms despite any perfect world fantasies one may have and we do not nor could we have anywhere near enough police to provide 24 hour surveillance erhm I mean protection for each and every person.

    • Patrick Cashman :

      “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.

  22. Kim West :

    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.

  23. Ron Pulcer :

    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, Aurora). If you have lived outside of Vermont for much of your life (as I did growing up), you might know that this problem has existed for many decades. I grew up 4 miles from Detroit, the “Murder Capitol of America” in the 1960s – 1970s. 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. So today we have more and more instances of “white-on-white” drug-related crime in Vermont and elsewhere and more “white-on-white” murders, especially mass shootings (Aurora, Columbine, Newtown). IMHO, I think that this is just one reason why Newtown finally has gotten so much attention (in addition to the terrible tragedy of murdered school children). I believe that if Newtown happened in Detroit or Chicago or L.A., this ongoing debate would have fizzled out by now (yet again).

    So the “problem” we should be addressing is “how to prevent or minimize PREMATURE DEATH by guns (or any other means)”. We can’t stop every murder. No law would be perfect (whether it is about guns, taxes, education, roads, etc; that’s why it’s called “Sausage”). But to do “nothing” we will continue to see what happened in Detroit years ago play out across this country.

    I listened to the recent Judiciary hearing on C-SPAN radio, chaired by Senator Leahy, with panelists, Rep. Gabby Gifford, husband Mark Kelley, and Wayne LaPierre. During the hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin explained that many guns used in crimes in Chicago were purchased down in Mississippi.

    Does Vermont want to be like Mississippi? Well, in fact, we are already:

    Likewise, there are some gun-related crimes occurring in Boston, MA, in which the gun was purchased in Vermont (because VT laws are relatively lax)! So let’s not get too complacent, thinking that Vermont is such a safe place, or such an innocent place (“We have lax gun laws and relatively low crime, so let’s just pat ourselves on the back”):

    Stolen Vt. gun ended Boston man’s life
    By Mike Donoghue, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press
    Updated 7/26/2012 2:44 PM
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-07-26/vermont-gun-travels/56503588/1

    http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2006/05/boston-magazine-the-ways-of-the-gun/

    Here’s a story of 3 Rutland County teens doing a little “target practice”:

    Three teens charged with vandalism
    January 27, 2013
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/01/27/three-teens-charged-with-vandalism/4aQVmiluPrMaerqQGrl82N/story.html

    Three Vermont teenagers are facing multiple charges in connection with a pellet-gun vandalism spree that allegedly damaged more than 100 vehicles, businesses, and homes, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Police said an 18-year-old from West Rutland and two 17-year-olds, from Castleton and West Rutland, have been charged with felony and misdemeanor counts of malicious mischief for allegedly shooting out windows with a pellet gun between 3 a.m. Wednesday and Friday afternoon in Rutland and West Rutland. Rutland Police Chief James Baker said it’s the worst vandalism in the city in recent memory, with at least 111 reports filed in Rutland alone.

    I’m not sure what the “answers” are (if any).

    I don’t want to see law-abiding citizens lose their 2nd Amendment rights

    However, I also don’t want to see more law-abiding folks become moving targets on the streets (like Walt C. had experienced).

    Speaker Shap Smith: There are some obvious “problems” in Vermont and the nation (open your eyes)! You even said on VPR Vermont Edition that you know families from Sandy Hook / Newtown. Why not at least hold “public hearing(s)” and hear out citizens on both sides of this debate? If the legislators in both political parties are too afraid of Wayne LaPierre, then at least give the citizens a chance to discuss this topic (in a civil manner), in front of our legislators. “We The People” (on both sides) are not up for re-election, and we are not afraid to discuss this topic…

    BTW, Thank you Anne for this forum!

    • Chris Lewis :

      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 :

      “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 with violence.

      “However, I also don’t want to see more law-abiding folks become moving targets on the streets (like Walt C. had experienced).”

      This is the eternal problem with our gun culture. It is a fine line between responsible gun-ownership and when people like me become moving targets on the streets. I think that we who come from the cities understand what this means.

  24. 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 :

      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.

      • 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 high speeds kill people (ever hear of an accidental, ie. stupidity or negligence related, shooting?)

        I agree we have to deal with what I see as a very disconcerting comfort with violence, but we also need to firearms.

        • Brian Shaw :

          There are in excess of 300 million firearms and those are only the ones that are directly known about. Considering their inability to prosecute so-called straw purchasers and those who otherwise lied and/or failed their 4473 it really is not doable and to add to it I am not sure if you are aware or not but a registry of firearms and their owners is explicitly forbidden by FOPA under Registry prohibition.

      • Stuart Hill :

        “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.

        • 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.

          • Brian Shaw :

            I can agree with that statement but no thing that is done shall include infringement on the rights of the people or it will continue to negatively impact us all. Instead we must stop focusing on a tool and start focusing on the individuals who commit crimes and the underlying causes for their actions.

  25. kevin lawrence :

    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 :

      “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.

  26. Dave Bellini :

    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 in Vermont. The plans are to replace VSH with a smaller number of beds, split the location and now, only fund some, of the reduced number of beds.

    • Nick Olcott :

      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 taxes and own property why should we ban someone from having a gun? Another thing most felony’s dont even involve firearms so why if convicted of a non firearm felony should one loose their rights for life??? I call BS all around! This is all just a push to nationwide gun registration and confiscation. No Thanks not here maybe you will be better received in NY State or Mass.

  27. Stan Shapiro :

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

  28. 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. This uncontrolled trafficking in firearms has gone beyond the ridiculous.

    • Brian Shaw :

      You are rehashing failed concepts that they threw out because the costs would make ownership and proper practice and use unobtainable for those who are not well off. If your intent to disarm the poor then you are on the right track though it will not bode well.

    • 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 system for firearms not so much for the theft prevention (although that would to some degree be a beneficial side effect), but instead as a means to trace firearms from the manufacturer to the dealer to the personal purchaser to the … I’m pushing to bring some real accountability and responsibility to society into this whole firearms thing.

      If manufacturers are simply letting firearms loose to any dealer who wants to buy a lot for retail and that dealer has no concern regarding straw purchasers then we should know this and be able to stop it. If an individual is purchasing firearms legally and then bringing them to another location to sell them to all comers we should know this and be able to stop it. Those are just examples.

      And quite frankly I think it would be a good thing to make folks jump through some hoops to purchase a firearm – it would begin to slow the flood.

      Nobody is demonizing intelligent, thoughtful, responsible gun ownership. I like to think I fall under that category. It is unfortunate that there is today a real social problem created by people who want to own and use and trade in firearms without being intelligent, thoughtful and responsible – that is where I’m aiming.

  29. Ron Pulcer :

    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 Paul knows the number.

    How many Americans have been killed or attacked by video-game wielding Americans since December 14th, 2012?

    Maybe a handful of people were beaten with an X-Box or PlayStation controller, who knows?

    How many Americans have been killed by gun wielding Americans since December 14th, 2012?

    As of March 7, 2013: (at least) 2,635 known gun related deaths (gun-wielding Americans killing other Americans), via crowd-sourced data collected from Slate and Twitter (@GunDeaths).

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

    Vermont citizens may not agree with Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson, but I have to say that she is a courageous legislator to even attempt to address the issue of “PREMATURE DEATH”.

    Is Rep. Waite-Simpson less concerned about re-election compared to say, Speaker Shap Smith?

    • Brian Shaw :

      I will give her that but I would honestly much rather see her expend her efforts on something that is not a direct violation of her oath and more in tune with something that has an actual chance at making a positive impact. I have looked through her various proposals and there are a number “most” of them that are very sound and logical that deserve even as little as a tenth of her efforts in her battle against the rights of the people.

  30. Walter Carpenter :

    “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 :

      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.

  31. Brian Shaw :

    Lori Ranney, H.336 has actually been amended to clarify.

    Sec. 2. 13 V.S.A. § 4005 is amended to read:3
    § 4005. WHILE COMMITTING A CRIME

    I was immediately set back by this bill until that amendment was added.

  32. 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 :

      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 which has been enabled by having an affixed or attached percussion cap, primer, battery, or priming powder, except as permitted under subsections (d) and (e) of this section. A person who possesses a rifle or shotgun in or on a vehicle propelled by mechanical power, or drawn by a vehicle propelled by mechanical power within a right of way of a public highway shall upon demand of an enforcement officer exhibit the firearm for examination to determine compliance with this section.

      http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullsection.cfm?Title=10&Chapter=113&Section=04705

      • Brian Shaw :

        I am unsure if you intended to post that for informational purposes or to counter Rama’s claim about handguns but there is no law that bars a person from carrying a loaded handgun in a car. The code you cited is in reference to shotguns, rifles and muzzle loaders. Items used generally for hunting rather than self protection.

        • Jason Farrell :

          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 arms is unlimited and undefinable.” Clearly, the right to bear arms is not unlimited and undefinable at the state or federal level. While there are those currently who look to further restrict guns rights in Vermont, I’m not, but I am countering those in this thread who claim that creating any legislation that restricts “the right to bear arms” in Vermont is unprecedented and unconstitutional. It’s clearly not according to the precedent set forth in Duranleau. That precedent suggests the legislature CAN restrict the rights bestowed in the Vermont Constitution, Article 16, “the people have a right to bear arms”, but I would (have and do) argue that they SHOULDN’T as the current restrictions are sufficient.

  33. sandra bettis :

    death threats really deter lawmakers from their task.

    • Stuart Hill :

      What death threats?

  34. sandra bettis :

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

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