Kunin says gun safety activists must not be silenced by the “extraordinary power” of the National Rifle Association

Ann Braden speaks at a gun safety rally in the Statehouse. Photo by Anne Galloway

Ann Braden speaks at a gun safety rally in the Statehouse. Photo by Anne Galloway

Former Gov. Madeleine Kunin appeared at the Statehouse at two press conferences this week — two days in a row. On Tuesday, she backed paid sick leave legislation; yesterday she gave a passionate speech in support of a safe gun storage bill.

Kunin revved up a crowd of about 150 people from around the state with a rousing plea to not let the “extraordinary power” of the National Rifle Association “silence us.” Just because there will be no Statehouse hearings of any kind on any new gun safety legislation this year, she said, is not a reason to give up.

“Gun safety really means the safety of our children, of our loved ones,” Kunin said.

Kunin, who served in the 1980s and was the first woman elected to the Fifth Floor, said she holds out hope that there will be legislative action next year on H.124, a bill that would require gun owners to lock up their weapons. She described the legislation as a “baby step,” but an important baby step.

“I know this bill has a tough road,” Kunin said. “You mention the words gun control and some people shudder. One of the reasons there are no hearings just announced yesterday on any form of gun legislation is because of — let’s face it — the extraordinary power of the NRA.”

Lawmakers who have “stood up” to the gun rights organization (a handful of whom were present at the press conference), she said, “will need your support.”

“I wasn’t sure I’d get involved in this issue, but the Newtown murders inspired me,” Kunin said. “Leaders in Vermont, it’s time. It’s an uphill battle, but we’ve go to start. This is real grassroots politics. Don’t give up.”

She cited statistics to back up her contention that unless Vermonters find a way to require guns to be locked up, weapons pose a threat to the safety of children and families. Of the 30,000 gun deaths a year in America, 20,000 of those are from suicide, she said. Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide, most typically with firearms, Kunin said. “The easy availability of a gun is one of the reasons suicides occur so predominantly,” she said.

“Suicide is one of the consequences of having guns available to children and to adults,” Kunin said. “If you have a gun, it works. The likelihood of dying from a gun (as a way of committing suicide) is about 85 percent. If you have a gun in the house and you don’t keep it safe, it is dangerous to your family.”

Health departments in Missouri, Wyoming and North Carolina, she said, in recognition of the problem, are giving out free gun locks.

Dina Janis, an activist from Dorset who is part of the Million Moms Against Gun Violence group, compared the killing of 20 young children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to 9/11. She said the murders are a wake up call for parents who are concerned about the safety of their children.

“A lot of people say we don’t have a gun problem in Vermont,” Janis said. “We are fortunate we have not had an incident here like the incidents that have occurred in the rest of the country. But I would argue that as citizens of the nation Vermont has always taken the lead and it is taking the lead in Washington. There are issues. People can come to Vermont and purchase a gun and take it to another state. We need to be good citizens.

About 3,000 Vermonters signed a MoveOn.org petition urging lawmakers to pass the child access protection bill, H.124. Janis delivered the petition to legislative leaders on Wednesday.

Ann Braden, a resident of Brattleboro, spearheaded the petition drive. In a speech (with her baby in tow), Braden said the Constitution allows for a “well-regulated militia.”

“Nowhere does it (the Constitution) give the right to take down an entire classroom of defenseless children in seconds,” Braden said. “If such weapons had existed 300 years ago, the founding fathers would have recognized that as tyranny in its own right.”

Braden said the gun control legislation proposed by Reps. Linda Waite-Simpson and Alison Clarkson isn’t “about the Second Amendment, it’s about saving lives.”

Though a majority of Vermonters in a poll support background checks for gun purchasers and other gun control measures, there aren’t enough votes to move the bill forward, Braden said. “I’d like to ask legislators in the House: Why is that?” Braden said. “Is it because a minority has such a loud voice?”

Gun rights activists Sherb Lang from Lyndonville and Clint Gray of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs didn’t attend the press conference and wouldn’t comment directly on the arguments made by gun control advocates. “They’re entitled to their opinion, whether it makes any sense or not,” Lang said.

Lang opposes the gun safety law. He said if guns are locked up, Vermonters will have difficulty protecting themselves from intruders.

Gray says he supports a national requirement for mental health reporting to the National Instant Background Check database for gun purchasers.

Anne Galloway

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57 Comments on "Kunin says gun safety activists must not be silenced by the “extraordinary power” of the National Rifle Association"

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timothy price
2 years 10 months ago

Well, am sure that the powers that be will be planning an incident soon. Vermont has to be brought under the yoke. But gun safety has nothing to do with gun ownership; gun safety is what is accomplished with people who are accustomed to using guns safely, who respect them an the rights of others. ” .. compared the killing of 20 young children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to 9/11.” Good comparison: we know that 9/11 was done by those within our own government to frighten the public into accepting more “control… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

This is where I move away from you at the table. The only thing that annoys me as much as unhinged anti gunners is nutzo cuckoo tinfoil hattery from PRO-RKBA folks. Stop making me look bad with conspiracy nonsense.

David Black
2 years 10 months ago

Thank you Former Gov. Madeleine Kunin for reminding me to rejoin the NRA and for people like you that want to throw my God give rights away.

Arthur Hamlin
2 years 10 months ago

God given?! Since when did “God” write the Constitution?!

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

Arthur,
God didn’t write the constitution but it is a god given right to protect onself bvy any means possible and the constitution was written to protect those right we were born with.

Penelope Chevalier
2 years 10 months ago

It’s your god-given right to protect yourself by any means possible? So now we’re handing out rocket launchers and hand grenades. It is nobody’s right to possess any weapon that exists. You can protect yourself with a rifle and/or shotgun. Any type of weapon that existed when they idiotically crafted the second amendment. There is plenty of idiocy in the constitution, and there is plenty of idiocy in America. Congratulations on contributing more than your fair share.

2 years 10 months ago

“Idiotically crafted.” Noted. From DC vs. Heller (SCOTUS 07-290, 2008) “Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivo­lous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not in­terpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms,… Read more »

Ron Pulcer
2 years 10 months ago

David, As Arthur pointed out, the U.S. Constitution was written by mortal men. Our Founding Fathers may certainly have been inspired by their religious beliefs. Many of them were Deists, and not all were members of traditional mainline Protestant denominations. They strongly believed in Freedom of Religion, which they placed in the First Amendment (which comes “before” 2A in the U.S. Constitution). On the other hand, the Old Testament tells of God giving Moses the Ten Commandments. In the Catholic Church’s version of this story, please see Commandment #5: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/command.htm For the Protestant’s version of this story, please see Commandment… Read more »

Ron Pulcer
2 years 10 months ago

Luckily, we have not had the kind of mass shootings in Vermont as experienced in other U.S. states. Let’s hope and pray it remains that way. Having said that, let’s not pat ourselves on the back, and rest on our laurels, for our “relatively” low crime rate (that is going up in places like Rutland City / County, and drug dealers carry guns). The drug-related shooting in Rutland City a few years ago involved a straw-purchased gun by Rutland City resident. In addition to the issues of gun safety, suicide, domestic violence, mass shooting, and mental illness, etc. there is… Read more »

Ron Pulcer
2 years 10 months ago

WCAX Investigates: Guns and drugs: Posted: Feb 07, 2013 11:42 AM EST Updated: Feb 15, 2013 7:03 PM EST By Jennifer Reading http://www.wcax.com/story/21053113/wcax-investigates-guns-and-drugs ‘In 2009, the coalition tracked how often guns purchased in one state were recovered from crime scenes in another state. Vermont ranked 16th nationally and topped every state in the Northeast, exporting more guns per capita than New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and New York.’ ‘Mitchell says these black market guns are increasing violence on his streets. “If you’re a young person and you’ve got a beef with somebody and you’re inclined to use a gun, you go… Read more »

Zeke Rivers
2 years 10 months ago

Following is the height of hypocrisy: Mitchell lives in a State that exports millions of firearms (including the elusive, scary, black ‘assault rifles’) to other states, because it’s perfectly legal. Mitchell then complains to the media when a handful of those weapons make their way home and contribute to ‘violence on his streets’. If he and the elected representatives of MA and NY had the courage of their convictions, they would cease to provide the plethora of firearm manufacturers in their states with tax advantages for doing business there. Until that happens, nothing Mitchell has to say either influences or… Read more »

sandra bettis
2 years 10 months ago

god give(n) right??? god wants you to own a gun??? god wrote the constitution??? talk about people not making sense….if the 3 responses above don’t make you vote for gun control, i don’t know what will….

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

Yes Sanra a god given right. NO ONE has the right to tell someone that they can’t protect their family and self by ANY means possible. No, God did not write the Constitution but the men that did recognized that defending ones family and self was a god given right the same as freedom of speech and religion so they wrote the Constitution to protect those rights.

Curtis Sinclair
2 years 10 months ago

Which God are you talking about? Jesus said “Put your sword back in its place,for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

2 years 10 months ago

Suicide isn’t a gun problem, it’s a “Culture With No Future” problem.

HALE IRWIN
2 years 10 months ago

I am one of many gun owners who DO NOT support the NRA. I deplore the fear tactics used by the BRA as it supports gun manufacturers.

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

Hale,
Apparently you haven’t taken the time to learn about the NRA and all the good that they do. They are not doing what they do just to support the manufacturers. They do it because they love their country and the shooting sports. They offer safety programs, camps, scholorships, help send kids to the olympics, eddie eagle, etc etc. And most of all they make sure you continue to have the right to protect your family! You should take the time to learn about the NRA.

Gaelan Brown
2 years 10 months ago

Vermonters standing firm on their right to self defense against criminals and tyrannical governments, rights codified in the VT Constitution’s 16th amendment and the 2nd amendment of the US Constitution, has NOTHING to do with the NRA. The NRA is not spending any $ in Vermont, and has hardly any members as a % of VT’s population. But there are still perhaps up to 50% of Vermonters who UNDERSTAND the actual purpose of these constitutional amendments that guarantee our right to self defense as a check/balance against potential govt tyranny. The people who understand this are not going to tolerate… Read more »

Ron Pulcer
2 years 10 months ago

Gaelan, It is true that Vermont has historically had a relatively low crime and murder rate compared to other states. But then again, Vermont’s entire population equates to less than a “county”, for some counties in Midwestern states. Plus, neighbors are often dispersed and down the road a half-mile. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26/26099.html Kudos to Vermont for being the first to ban Slavery in it’s Constitution. But then again, Vermont has not had a large migration of poor blacks and poor whites looking for work in Ice Cream, Teddy Bear and Maple Syrup industries. In comparison, Michigan had many Southerners of both races… Read more »

Ray Gonda
2 years 10 months ago

In answer to Gaelen Brown The 2nd amendment was established to 1) be sure every able man had a gun and the manufacturers of ammo produced the proper calibers for those weapons. 2 ) affirm the ability of the government to call up that militia for the purpose of a) putting down domestic rebellions, b) repelling foreign invasions 3 ) to be used to get free of tyrannical repressive government. The first use of the 2nd amendment was to put down a whiskey rebellion – itself a citizen rebellion against government taxes. Google it and you will find a wealth… Read more »

Ray Gonda
2 years 10 months ago

A further consideration to Gaelen Brown’s assertions: Note that those same guns you want to protect so vigorously can be used to suppress yourself. That follows from: 2 ) affirm the ability of the government to call up that militia for the purpose of a) putting down domestic rebellions, b) repelling foreign invasions For further consideration, who would your guns be used against. Any authoritarianism in this nation would happen indirectly and you would never have any idea who you targets would be. They will take your money first as they have been doing right along – till you have… Read more »

Sally Shaw
2 years 10 months ago

Responsible gun owners aren’t paranoiacs like the first few commenters above. Too many accidental shootings and killings among teenagers have happened because guns aren’t required to be unloaded and placed in locked cabinets, barring access to children and the mentally unstable. This is a simple, common-sense precaution. If you want to protect yourself from an intruder sneaking into your house in the night, get a dog, for heaven’s sake, or put a can of mace under your bed.

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

You are correct, most of us to not believe 911 was an inside job nor do we think that Sandy Hook was. But if you think a dog or can of mace will stop a drug crazed criminal you are sadly mistaken. There are thousands of police reports where the criminal took a half dozen shots and kept on attacking. A person needs to be able to have an unlocked gun within arms reach as that criminal bursts into your bedroom in the middle of the night. Anything under the bed is too far away and a can of mace… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“We’ve also always had low crime rates in general, at least partially because criminals know that their potential victims are likely to be ARMED and ready to defend themselves.” You mean we’ve been lucky so far. When it happens here, and it will, then we in Vermont will join the new 21st century America where it seems to happen every week. This is the latest one, another four American lost due to someone with a gun who decided to use it on his fellow citizens instead of a target or a deer. Next week it will probably be somewhere else,… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

The false and frankly racially tinged argument that the Second Amendment was intended to keep black people in chains is debunked here:

http://constitution.org/lrev/roots/death_collective_right_theory.pdf

Douglas Duprey
2 years 10 months ago

I posted this before but it needs posting again. The 2nd Amendment was mainly written to defend ourselves from anything including bandits, foreign gov’ts, and our own gov’t. when you can guarantee my safety and my family’s from everything I will lock up my firearm. I live 20 minutes to 1/2 hr from proper police response. Tell me how good you can hold out in the 3 seconds it takes to bust down your door or smash a window to gain entrance. From Thomas Jefferson a Founding Father and writer of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson certainly would have us armed… Read more »

Ron Pulcer
2 years 10 months ago

Douglas,

Regarding the ending of your William S. Smith Paris’ quote:

“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.”

WHOA! I for one would surely would not use that line in front of parents and family members of those who experienced “Premature Death”!!!

The Newtown, CT children were surely little up-and-coming “Patriots”. They said the “Pledge of Allegiance” every day at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

walter carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

Dustin: I must admit that I think you are partially correct with your analysis about the second amendment’s purpose. Substitute the word “bandit,” for “Indians,” or “slaves,” or perhaps the commoners of the day (shay’s rebellion is a good example) and I think that is probably not far off from what the founders intended for the second. I also suspect that A “well-regulated militia,” was also a way to avoid the problems of maintaining a large standing army. Yet, I seriously doubt that Thomas Jefferson or the government he helped to create would want to arm us enough for each… Read more »

Justin Farrar
2 years 10 months ago

Wow! You really need to spend some time reading the history of our fore fathers and what they feared! Your explanation is about as backwards as it could be from what history tells us they feared!

Penelope Chevalier
2 years 10 months ago

Wow, you really need to spend some time thinking about a society where people like you want to arm teachers, children and any and every idiot. An armed society, your dream come true. It’s too bad people like you create nightmares for everyone else.

2 years 10 months ago

“People like you.”

It’s too bad people like you think their fears trump my rights.

There is not. You do not have a right to be free from fear.

Kristin Sohlstrom
2 years 10 months ago

It is NOT necessary for people to belong to the NRA and stand for the 2nd Amendment. Again, this is yet another example of the narrow-mindedness of the left in VT. You guys need to get out more.

kevin lawrence
2 years 10 months ago

Why doesn’t Gov. Kunin start a grassroots campaign to educate her adopted Vermont resident neighbors on gun safety? Why does this require a change of law? Eddie the Eagle is the only gun safety program I see working in VErmont, and Eddie the Eagle is paid for by the NRA. Must we always legislate safety, if that is the perceived problem? Vermont is a very safe place where I carry a loaded handgun. My neighbors hear me shoot and know I carry. No criminal in their right mind would approach my house and expect an easy target. If my guns… Read more »

Mel Allen
2 years 10 months ago

I’m always amazed that ‘gun safety’ discussions always seem to start with stripping rights away from the law abiding citizens, while actually doing little to nothing in the way of protecting anyone from the real threat of the teen or young adult on psychosis inducing medications or the murderous criminals in our midst.

Tony Lolli
2 years 10 months ago

Oh, I see, Ms Kunin, free speech for thee but not for the NRA. Interesting.

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

Witness the demonization of the opposition. “All those who oppose me are NRA members…race traitors…mysoginists…rednecks…fill in your preferred hateful term here…”
Perhaps Ms. Kunin has forgotten that her fellow Vermonters are individuals, capable of independent and rational thought who, just possibly, may have arrived at a different interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and 16th Article than herself. Perhaps she could credit us with the ability of independent thought without the lofty assistance of a transplant. Somehow, in her absence, I suspect we might be able to carry on.

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

“The easy availability of a gun is one of the reasons suicides occur so predominantly,”

No, depression is one of the reasons suicides occur so predominantly.

Does she actually think we are stupid enough to think the firearms CAUSE suicide?

Of course she does. Kunin always did see herself as part of the elite class. Not at all unlike many others who claim to know our minds, wishes and needs so much better than we do ourselves.

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“No, depression is one of the reasons suicides occur so predominantly.”

You are right, but the easy availability of guns is what allow so many thousands of depressed to do themselves in each year. A gun is much easier and quicker than most other means; it rarely allows for a second chance.

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

If someone is determined to die they will use what ever method available. Dealing with depression, including depression in less valued people is a better path to take. Let’s be honest here. We live in a very classist society. If you are anything “less than” upper middle class, young, healthy, able, good looking and white the value of your life is seen as significantly less by the vast majority of people. Staying with the topic of gun control look at the outrage when a few rich white people are killed by comparison to the “ho-hum” reaction to inner city minorities… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

Interesting that Anne, who I have decided is clearly in the tank for the anti-gun-rights crowd, has chosen to characterize H124 as simply a safe storage bill. It does a heck of a lot more than that:

http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/diary/9620/h124-ends-vermont-carry

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

Also interesting that “in my house” somehow doesn’t count as secure storage in this regard. Now, apparently we require legislation to mandate how we store our personal property in our own homes.
Perhaps next we can legislate exactly how towels are to be folded; remember people, the law is fold in half, then by thirds, then half again, folded edges out. Don’t make me call the sheriff.

Bob Pierre
2 years 10 months ago

150 people?

I was there! Were you?
I counted 62 people and that included the press. Other reporters and news agency’s were reporting:
WCAX: “..almost 50”
Fox44: “…a group of 50.” and “…dozens showed up..”

150 people in the Cedar Creek room? Thats TIGHT!

ed fisher
2 years 10 months ago

Gov. Kunin ! The very reason this bill is having such a hard time getting going is because gun legislations never work . Clintons ban didn’t because it changed 0 statistics, hence it was allowed to expire ! The majority of crimes with guns are pleaed down to minor offenses , Even those against women ! And the sad part is , You know this ! Want to stop gun violence , stop violence !

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

You speak the truth. Sadly the backers of the bill don’t want to hear the truth or have anyone else listen to the truth.

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“You know this ! Want to stop gun violence , stop violence !”

I agree. This would be much easier without the millions of untraceable guns that we have hanging around the country. Without so many guns, we would not be able to kill so many of each other as we do every year.

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

Yes, millions of guns that have never been used in a crime and never will be. Now, the class of firearms that the screaming is loudest about at the moment are used far less than blunt objects (clubs, bats, hammers etc) or even fists and feet. Do you own a baseball bat Walt? You’re not a professional ball player are you? So what gives with that? Why do you need to own a weapon like that. Are you planning to go on a rage filled spree of beating people to death with that weapon? Deal out a little justice to… Read more »

Walter Carpenter
2 years 10 months ago

“Based on your posts here you do seem to be quite an angry guy.” Lol, Stuart. Are you sure it is anger? As i have said before on here, as far as I know, I am the only one on these posts here who has been on the receiving end of our gun culture in a non-military situation where my life was placed in imminent danger from a gun. I have also seen people who have been shot. This experiences changes ones perspective about issue of guns. Anger is not quite it:). Realism is probably th better word:)

Stuart Hill
2 years 10 months ago

You honestly don’t seem to be very well connected to reality. You’re a man with an agenda and seem to be saying pretty much anything to push that agenda. I’ve seen plenty of harsh things in my life. Many family members and friends have committed suicide, Some with firearms. Did the gun cause the suicide? Don’t be stupid, of course not. Would the people still have killed themselves without a gun? Don’t be stupid of course they would have. In the simplistic world many seem to be posting from everything is binary, 1 or 0, white or black, good or… Read more »

chuck gregory
2 years 10 months ago

Not only do Boston cops find that 40% of the guns they confiscate come from Vermont (source: Supt. Paul Joyce, speaking in Bennington), but 80% of the guns used in homicides (not accidents or suicides) are second-hand, guns whose owners sold, pawned, gifted, lent, left unsecured, etc. In other words, the guns got into unworthy hands because the original purchaser treated it like just another kitchen appliance. Guns are not. They are weapons of potency which deserve to be treated as such by their owners. What knight, what samurai would have let his sword fall into lesser hands? Our gun… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

By your reasoning, then, if my German Shepherd has a litter of pups, and I sell them, and one grows up to bite someone, I’m responsible. You didn’t think that one through.

John Greenberg
2 years 10 months ago

Is your German Shepherd a lethal weapon?

2 years 10 months ago

Certainly, if I train her to be.

Patrick Cashman
2 years 10 months ago

From the 3 Aug 2006 Free Press “Boston Billboard Pins Crimes on Vermont Guns”:

“Boston Police Superintendent Paul Joyce said Vermont is not a significant source of guns used in crimes in his city, but that Florida, Maine and New Hampshire are.

“We only had one illegal gun end up in Boston from Vermont in 2005,” Joyce said, adding that “secondary markets” for old guns, such as flea markets and “kitchen table” sales, make it more difficult to trace guns to where they were bought by criminals, even if the place of the first sale can be identified.”

2 years 10 months ago

Gosh — if one gun represents 40% of Boston’s haul…that would indicate they confiscated 1.5 other guns.

walt Amses
2 years 10 months ago

Once we get past the “right” to do so, the second amendment provides us with almost nothing regarding gun ownership in this country, except perhaps the ammunition for an infinite, partisan debate. Each side is convinced they’re right and cannot remotely fathom how others can believe anything else….it’s so clear! I’m old enough to remember when the National Rifle Association was focused on hunting and gun safety, their ultimate objective was preventing a gun from killing or injuring a human. When was the last time you heard Wayne LaPierre even mention hunting? He doesn’t . Guns are for killing people,… Read more »

Robert Ries
2 years 10 months ago

Mr. Amses, you have gone about almost all of your post entirely incorrectly. “Once we get past the “right” to do so, the second amendment provides us with almost nothing regarding gun ownership in this country…” Your understanding of the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, is fundamentally flawed. The Constitution and BoR do not list things the Citizens may do; it lists specific things that the Government may not interfere with without an overwhelming threat to the nation as justification for the interference. Such evidnece has not yet been demonstrated. “I’m old enough to remember when the National Rifle… Read more »

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