Gun rights groups bring nearly 5,000 letters and petitions to the governor’s office

Advocates for four gun rights groups brought 5,000 letters and petitions to the governor’s office on Thursday, urging the Gov. Peter Shumlin to reject any attempt to restrict Vermont’s gun laws.

Though the issue is a moot point — legislative leaders have said they will not take up three bills introduced last month — organizers of the petition drive said they wanted to honor the citizens who gathered signatures from all over the state and make state officials and the press aware of how committed Vermonters are to protecting the Second and 14th Amendments and a provision in Vermont’s constitution that gives residents the right to “bear arms to protect themselves.”

The four groups include Vermont Traditions Coalition, Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Gun Owners of Vermont and Vermont NRA. The ad hoc coalition opposes trigger locks, waiting periods for gun purchases, and “shifting liabilities to lawful and constitutional firearms use,” according to a statement. Gun restrictions run afoul of self-defense rights, the groups say.

Bill Moore, of Johnson and one of the organizers of the petition drive, said Shumlin administration officials met briefly with representatives from the groups and were “fair and friendly” to the advocates.

In private meetings with the House Speaker and lawmakers, the gun rights advocates asked for a review of mental health crisis management in response to the Newtown, Conn., tragedy in which 20 young children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Adam Lanza, the man accused of the murders, was mentally ill.

“Vermont has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, and the lack of violent crime speaks for the free ownership and use of weapons for self defense,” Moore wrote.

Moore said in a statement that in an outpouring of opposition gun rights activists previously defeated Sen. Phil Baruth’s assault weapons ban proposal.

Gun rights groups have held two well-attended rallies at the Statehouse since January.

Gun safety advocates have held a rally and two press conferences. They delivered petitions with 3,000 signatures to the governor on Wednesday.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:25 a.m. March 16.

Anne Galloway

Comment Policy requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Be succinct and to the point. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer. If your comment is over 500 words, consider sending a commentary instead.

We personally review and moderate every comment that is posted here. This takes a lot of time; please consider donating to keep the conversation productive and informative.

The purpose of this policy is to encourage a civil discourse among readers who are willing to stand behind their identities and their comments. VTDigger has created a safe zone for readers who wish to engage in a thoughtful discussion on a range of subjects. We hope you join the conversation. If you have questions or concerns about our commenting platform, please review our Commenting FAQ.

Privacy policy
  • They’re not “gun SAFETY advocates”, Anne, they’re gun CONTROL advocates. I reject the use of that term as a new, purely political, term of art just as I reject the term, “assault weapon.”

    (Or, for that matter, “defense of marriage”, or “partial-birth abortion.)

    Gun SAFETY is the responsibility of the gun owner. The intent with this new term of art is to create an implication that if you oppose legislation such as LWS’ H.124, then you’re opposed to safety, and a bad or kooky person.
    It won’t fly, and at some point I do hope to see you return to being the objective journalist I’d known you to be prior to the ignition of this issue in Vermont.

    • Stuart Hill

      Deceptive wording has been stock in trade for those looking to restrict the rights of law abiding firearms owners for decades.

      Saturday night specials, Cop-killer bullets, assault rifles and the like are, when you get right down to it, marketing terms intended to sell fear to the public.

      Zinc guns, bullets coated with Teflon to protect the bore (short explanation; this was only needed on a type of round not sold to the public) and ugly guns are not as effective in frightening the uninformed as the above terms are.

      In the end these loaded words are no more than exuberant equine effluent.

  • Valerie Harriss

    Anne, you need to come up with a better description of the anti-gunners and/or gun-grabbers as they are known because WE ALL ARE GUN SAFETY ADVOCATES. A gun owner’s number one priority IS safety. Gun owners strive for safe handling of guns evidenced by all the “gun safety” courses offered all around the state. But, on the other hand, a gun owner’s aka “gun rights advocate’s” prioty is also to protect and defend his or her right to continue to be safe from the harm of others. This whole “conversation” is about being safe!

    • It’s just saddening that the “rights vs. safety” frame taints what is otherwise an objective and fair posting.

      • kevin lawrence

        It’s time, Anne Galloway, that you learned this lesson. Gun safety advocates are a 360 degree phenomenon. Who is against gun safety? You are making progress at being objective, but here’s an example of your regression.

  • David Usher

    Garcia and Harriss make valid points. The language used in these controversial issues by journalists often smacks of political correctness that reveals their biases. Not that the biases can be eliminated because we all have them, journalists included.

    Perhaps reporters and journalists should periodically reveal their leanings on various issues so we have full disclosure about where they stand. If they write editorials, we know their positions on an issue. Reporters are often wrongly assumed to be unbiased.

  • Robert Kenyon

    Anne, thank you for an all-too-rare example of objective reporting. Keep up the good work!
    As other commentors have pointed out, law abiding gun owners promote firearm safety and education, from an early age. Gun ownership, sales and use are already “controlled” by a panpoly of State and Federal laws. Let’s call a spade a spade. I think a more accurate term for those who wish to chip away at our civil rights in order to impose collective punishment on law abiding gun owners for the actions of a few insane criminals, is “gun rights opponents”. Personally, I refer to them as “hoplophobes”.

  • sandra bettis

    ‘urging the Gov. Peter Shumlin to reject ANY attempt to restrict Vermont’s gun laws’ is so telling. nra = no reasonable attitude. oh yeh, and you are really ‘safe’ with a gun in the house – is that why it is 3 times more likely that those are the same homes that have gun fatalities? and 5 times more likely to have gun suicides? and don’t say – oh they would’ve done it anyway – it is 80% more likely they’ll die from a gunshot.

    • I don’t dispute your statistics, but I would dispute your premise.

      Suicide is not a gun problem, it’s economics. We are at a point in US history where desperate people are realizing they have no options and no future, and they are acting accordingly.

      Tools are not causes, just means to an end. A moratorium on home foreclosures would go a lot further in terms preventing suicidal behavior in our fellow Vermonters, no?

      • John Greenberg

        “Suicide is not a gun problem, it’s economics”

        That’s a nice theory Justin, but the facts I’ve seen do not support it.

        Here are a few to chew on. In states which do not require background checks for gun purchases, gun suicides are considerably higher than in states which do (7.97 per 100,000 vs 4.09) (Mother Jones citing Mothers Against Illegal Guns and the CDC).

        The Military Suicide Research Consortium presented a report to Congress last year (“Information Paper MCMR-RTO,” 18 July 2012) On page 4, they state: “Means restriction or reduction, which can occur on a population or individual level, is a particularly important and effective strategy to prevent suicidal behavior. The likelihood of death is significantly higher when a suicide attempt involves highly lethal means. On a population level, several studies have shown that when lethal means are restricted or made less lethal, suicide rates decrease using that method, and often overall (Gunnell, 2003; Gunnell, 2007; Mann et al., 2005). Specifically, suicide rates have decreased following firearm control legislation (Loftin, McDowall, Wiersema, & Cottey, 1991; Bridges, Kunselman, & Gun, 2004; Lester & Leenaars, 1993; Snowdon & Harris, 1992; Cantor & Slater, 1995)….”

        • David Bell


          Thanks for posting this comment.

          I had been wondering the same thing, and I was going to ask if anyone actually had sources to back up Justin’s claims.

          • You guys really needed to look up data to confirm that “The likelihood of death is significantly higher when a suicide attempt involves highly lethal means” ?

            I never would have disputed that. That is so obvious I don’t see how anyone would.

            You’re still not even looking at what I am actually talking about: WHY people commit suicide. Way easier to address tools than causality, so I don’t blame you.

          • John Greenberg

            I believe you’ve missed (or sidestepped)the point, which the rather academic tone of the language you quote may have concealed.

            People attempt suicide using a number of different means. If suicide were only about intention and motive, as you appear to suggest, then the means chosen wouldn’t matter: those who failed at their attempt with less lethal means would simply go on to finish themselves off with MORE lethal means. In other words, those who are, in your words, “desperate people … realizing they have no options and no future,” would SUCCEED in taking their lives equally WHATEVER means they initially chose. But the statistics show that’s NOT the case.

            Let me put that differently for you. If I accept your hypothesis that we need to focus on the cause, then why do the statistics show that the means chosen DOES make a difference in the results? How do YOU explain the statistical difference between those with access to guns and those without?

            No one is suggesting that guns CAUSE people to commit suicide. Rather,the suggestion, supported by the evidence, is that the more people who attempt to commit suicide have easy access to guns, the more likely they are to SUCCEED in their attempts. Conversely, removing access to guns may not mean that fewer people will attempt suicide; it means that fewer will succeed.

            More importantly, the statistics speak for themselves. Suicidal intent in combination with easy access to firearms is a lethal combination, whereas presumably the SAME intent with less easy access results in fewer deaths.

            If fewer deaths is not in and of itself a worthwhile policy goal, then there’s not much to discuss. Your attempt to focus on the causes of suicide is all well and good, but in this case, it should not be allowed to distract us from that simple policy goal.

      • Ron Pulcer

        Regarding this comment:

        “Suicide is not a gun problem, it’s economics”

        Economics???????????? What?????????????????????

        Right now, this week, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are meeting in Washington DC in a “Storm The Hill” event to meet with members of Congress to address the very sad situation of the “backlog” of cases being handled by the Veterans Administration for Veterans returning from service, to civilian life, trying to deal with PTSD, medical, health, education, jobs and other issues.

        This morning I listened to Paul Rieckhoff (IAVA Founder and CEO) and other IAVA members being interviewed on Stand Up with Pete Dominick radio show (Sirius/XM 104, 6-9AM). Of the various topics covered, suicide by Veterans was discussed.

        Pete Dominick asked the audience how many knew a fellow Veteran who committed suicide. Being radio, I couldn’t see the audience, but the host stated that nearly everyone raised their hand. I’m not sure how big the audience was, but it was more than just those being interviewed, based on audio of audience clapping at certain points in the show.

        Congress voted to send these veterans to the Afghanistan and Iraq, and when they come home, there “apparently” is not enough money to help them out. Although there has been some turnover in Congress, many of the Congressional members that complain about the deficit and debt, are the very ones who voted to send these Veterans to Iraq (including my cousin’s son). Over the past decade there has been military contract fraud, abuse and malfeasance, which Congress did very little about to address. “Walking Around Money” was shipped to the war zones to pay for “collateral damage”. Our tax dollars have somehow been siphoned off and ended up in hands of Afghanistan leaders and dollars flown out the country to another Middle Eastern country. Is it any wonder why the Veteran’s Administration has a backlog of cases to help Vets?

        An IAVA member described one of the members whose case was on VA backlog for a long time. That Vet committed suicide two days before the VA set a letter to his home saying his case has finally progressing. His mother found the letter after he died.

        Maybe this doesn’t have to do with gun background checks. But, it does point that suicide, at least amongst Vets, is a problem related to Congress, both Presidents and the VA.

        If Congress won’t do much to help IAVA Vets, then there is little chance they will do anything to help the rest of us citizens, whether it is the issue of the economy or gun violence on our streets.

        • Patrick Cashman

          I wouldn’t get to excited about anything Mr. Rieckhoff has to say, he’s an opportunist who would desperately like to be taken as the Veterans’ Lorax who speaks for the veterans. He makes a decent living out of it ($150k per year from IAVA alone), better than he made out of his former group; OpTruth. It is in his best interest to portray as bleak a vision of veterans’ support as possible, using them to garner some version of gravitas or authority for himself.

          For a more nuanced and accurate portrayal of attitudes towards support of veterans I would recommend the excellent summation on the USNI website under the title of “Veterans Suicid: Facts Against Chatter”, at

          • Ron Pulcer


            Thanks for the web link. I can buy the fact that maybe some people are overstating the Vet suicide problem. But as a taxpayer and citizen, I say even one Vet suicide is one too many.

            In response to the above “Suicide is not a gun problem, it’s economics” comment, it might apply to the general public in terms of unemployment, homelessness, etc. But as far as Vet suicides, that has nothing to do with the economy.

            It has to do with the faux-Patriotism of both parties in Congress that would send our military to war, to serve our country (you and me), and then these politicians / political parties don’t do enough to work together to help out Vets when they come home.

            Maybe you don’t like the fact that Paul Rieckhoff makes a decent salary. But I do know that he has been advocating for Vets for several years now. He makes a lot more money than I do per year, but I don’t begrudge him that.

            If K-Street lobbyists can lobby on behalf of multi-national corporations for more tax breaks, then IAVA has every right to lobby on behalf of Veterans. If more tax dollars for VA caseworkers and resources can prevent some Vet suicides, then I have no problem paying my taxes for that purpose.

          • Patrick Cashman

            A few points.

            1. I do begrudge Mr. Rieckhoff, not his salary but the manner in which he gets it. By exploiting the challenges of others without their consent. The manner in which he makes his wage ensures he has a vested interest in always dramatizing the problem, while ensuring no actual solutions are put in place.

            2. Neither Mr. Rieckhoff nor his organization can be called lobbyists for veterans. There wasn’t a big Veterans Board of Directors meeting in which Mr. Rieckhoff was selected to represent anyone other than Mr. Rieckhoff. He is a self-appointed lobbyist, who steals the voice from those who served in order to add it to his own causes.

            3. Mr. Rieckhoff uses the faux authority he has cultivated for more than veterans’ causes, but also for his own political ends. This is someone who very much sees themselves in high office someday, using his cred as a “veterans’ activist” and “military commentator” to catapult him there.

            4. And above all, Mr. Rieckhoff is an active contributor to the marginalization of today’s veterans. He pounds out a narrative that would have all veterans seen as broken toys, to be pitied and cared for, but never to be treated as equal participants in our society with their own voices and viewpoints. I believe he does it strictly for personal money and fame, not maliciousness. But in many ways that is actually a worse motive.

          • Ron Pulcer


            Obviously, you know more about Paul Rieckhoff and IAVA than I do. But here is what I do know:

            My cousin’s son has served 9-10 years in the military, including time in Iraq. Thankfully, he is alive and well and now serving in a western U.S. State. He was the lead mechanic (sorry, don’t know his exact title then) on a military cargo/transport plane, traveling with the same pilot and same plane. For a time, he was stationed at airbase north of Baghdad. They transported wounded soldiers to a military hospital in Germany. En route, he would often sit with the wounded soldiers, be with them, talk with them, hold their hand, tell them it was going to be OK.

            Those that survived often went next to a rehab hospital like Walter Reed Medical Center. You may remember this news story from 2007:

            Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army’s Top Medical Facility
            By Dana Priest and Anne Hull
            Washington Post Staff Writers
            Sunday, February 18, 2007


            So maybe Paul Reichoff doesn’t speak for you, I can accept that. But the Constitution gives us the Right to Free Speech, so IAVA and any other military org has a right to lobby Congress on Veteran’s issue.

            Heck, neither political party speaks for a majority of Americans. About 1/3 of Americans consider themselves “independent” / non-affiliated with a party. No organization or person speaks for an entire group. That is the beauty of the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech. A marketplace of ideas (like this online forum).

            I know you don’t care for Paul Rieckhoff. But do you honestly think that Congress, both political parties, the VA and Pentagon are doing a such “bang up” job on providing support for returning Veterans? Do you think the current level of military suicide is acceptable?

  • Carl Fyrdman

    Sandra, I find it curious that the political group which believes in the right to abort life, and supports “death with dignity” laws, claims that gun control needs to be enacted in order to prevent suicide.
    It does seem a bit of a logical inconsistency.

    Personally I am pro-liberty… pro-personal freedom: marry who you wish, choose how to expand your family or not, choose how to end your own life should you wish to, and choose to defend yourself as you wish.

    I would add a few remarks regarding some of the statistics. The oft quoted “gun owning homes have more fatalities” is based on calculations that include suicides – self inflicted decisions to end one’s own life, rather than tales of criminals wrestling the gun away from a defender.

    Mind you, I don’t think suicide is a good thing, but I do believe it is an individual’s right to end his or her life as they see fit – just as I believe you have the right to take up a carcinogenic habit like smoking. I may think suicide is a waste, but it’s not my place to determine what level of misery you must endure.

    • John Greenberg

      Your argument relies on a totally unconvincing analogy. Groups who support gun control legislation in part to decrease the number of suicides are NOT trying to criminalize suicide, any more than providing birth control to render abortion unnecessary is limiting women’s right to choose.

      As a “pro-liberty… pro-personal freedom” advocate, you also acknowledge that you “don’t think suicide is a good thing.”

      Does it really contradict you pro-liberty stance to remove weapons which facilitate converting what is often a spur of the moment caprice into an irreversible act?

      If it does, I’d suggest giving your definition of liberty a bit more thought.

      • Carl Fyrdman


        You ask: “Does it really contradict you(r) pro-liberty stance to remove weapons which facilitate converting what is often a spur of the moment caprice into an irreversible act?”

        Yes, it does go against my pro-liberty stance when you are attempting to remove something that has a supposed Constitutional protection. And FYI, I have lost a loved one to suicide. Suicide sucks. I agree that the use of firearms makes the likelihood of success much higher. Furthermore, I agree that access to firearms means a split moment decision can become a permanent tragedy. Unfortunately, those are risks we must accept.
        I do not accept the notion that the govt, or anyone else for that manner, has the right to tell me what I may smoke & read, and who I may pray to (or not), sleep with, marry… etc. The govt does not have a *RIGHT* to limit my use of tobacco (gave it up 20 yrs ago), or salt, sugar, big gulps, etc.
        I understand that these are perhaps silly matters, but the principle is the same – they are unhealthy, but it is not my place, nor Uncle Sam’s, to tell you how to run your own life.
        Govt & legislation should only be involved when one person’s actions infringe upon the rights of another.
        My owning a firearm does not impact your rights at all.
        My using a firearm against you would impact your rights – thankfully we do have laws against that. Personally I’d prefer to just see violent felons hanged rather than released back out onto the streets.

        For more on that:
        While working on their “Project Safe Neighborhoods” plan, the US Department of Justice, under Attorney General John Ashcroft, stated that two-thirds of all firearms crimes are committed by repeat offenders.

        Furthermore, the New York Times did some investigations into all of the NYC murders from 2003 through 2005, and concluded that within NYC, more than 90% of those committing homicide had criminal records; and of those who were murdered, more than half of that group had criminal records (it appears the criminal element is at a much higher risk as a consequence of their lifestyle).
        See “New York Killers, and Those Killed, by Numbers” – by Jo Craven McGinty, April 28, 2006

        see also:
        The website cites 2 studies done in 1984 & 1994. Unfortunately neither study was designed to account for the entire number of released prisoners each year. Rather, the studies looked at samples of 11 states, and then 15 states. Despite this, two truly shocking conclusions can be reached.
        1) About 65% of releasees are rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years of getting out of prison.
        2) Roughly 6% of each year’s total number of homicides, are committed by just those prisoners who were released from prison within the preceding year. From that we can further estimate that 5 years worth of prison releasees would account for 30% of each year’s homicide total. This is slightly inaccurate in that risk for recividism seems to decrease the longer a releasee has been out of prison. Therefore according to this study we could instead estimate that 5 years worth of releasees is more likely to account for 20-25% of the annual number of homicides.

        • John Greenberg


          Thanks for your response.

          You write: “Yes, it does go against my pro-liberty stance when you are attempting to remove something that has a supposed Constitutional protection.” I assume from what you write subsequently, that the emphasis is far more on the removal of the right than the Constitution, but just in case, I suggest that you read Justice Stevens’ remarkably well-reasoned and carefully documented dissent in the Heller case, which certainly underscores the modifier “supposed” before the word Constitutional.

          Despite Heller, I believe the courts and the Court had in right for the first 200+ years of our history: the right to bear arms is NOT an individual right, but was intended to empower militias rather than resort to a standing army. I acknowledge, of course, that the majority of the Supreme Court found otherwise, and that it is they, not I, who get “to say what the law is,” in the words of John Marshall (Marbury v Madison)

          As to the rest, I see nothing at all in your “right” to have a gun which could possibly justify the completely unnecessary loss of human life, but having clarified where our respective positions lie, I don’t think there’s any further purpose in belaboring the point. We will just have to agree to disagree.

    • krister adams

      Carl: I find it utterly incredible that a group (Conservatives, Libertarians, etc.) that are all about anti-abortion, no-death-with-dignity,”family values”, anti-crime, god & country – claims that backgound checks and/or stricter gun-control measures are way out of line.!!??!!

      • Carl Fyrdman

        Valid point. However you are lumping Libertarians in with the Republican Party. That is rather like lumping Communists with moderate Democrats. I was a libertarian for 15 yrs and left due to their environmental stance (which is anemic on global warming). While I am now a registered Independent, I can tell you that the Libertarian Party promotes a woman’s right to choose, freedom of (any) religion or lack thereof, supports death with dignity, marriage equality, and legalization of marijuana.
        Please do not lump them in with the “family values” Bible thumping section of the GOP. You’ll note that Ron Paul had delegates taken from him at the 2012 RNC, his signs were covered up, and he was denied a chance to address the party at the RNC despite having qualified for that right via his number of delegates.
        Not trying to sound hostile, it is simply that as a past member of their (Libertarian) party, I wish to see them represented accurately.

  • Scott Chapman

    I would like to clarify something about this article. One hundred percent of the letters and petitons delivered on Thursday were gathered by grass roots citizen from all areass of the Vermont, with the help of several in state organizations.

    There was a representitive form the NRA present at the delivery on Thursday. However, the letters and petitions were not generated by the NRA.

  • sandra bettis

    gun laws in vt? we are the most lax state in the union. that is why criminals come here to buy guns. if you are a gun owner and you don’t even think that private sales should have the same rules as gun dealers, well, then you are part of the problem. and, as far as suicide being about economics, tell that to all the families of the recent teenage suicides in vt.

    • Stuart Hill

      How about the numbers to back up your claims about criminals coming to VT to buy guns. Real numbers from the FBI or other reliable UNBIASED source.

      • Kathy Leonard

        Gun trafficking statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives

        All information as of September 2010

        • Stuart Hill

          Your “source” does not give any clue as to how the numbers were generated IE Uniform Crime Statistics from the FBI or pulled from thin air.

          I rather doubt were the numbers legitimate they would have neglected to cite the source for their data.

          Given the name of the website it hardly seems like an impartial source of information.

          Please try again and thistimestick with a LEGITIMATE IMPARTIAL source.

          • John Greenberg

            You write: “Your “source” does not give any clue as to how the numbers were generated IE Uniform Crime Statistics from the FBI or pulled from thin air.”

            Not so.

            If you click on “methodological note” on the web page referred to,” you’ll get sent to a link ( which then links to this report:, where the methodology is spelled out and documented.

            The ultimate source is ATF, which tracks guns used in crime.

          • John Greenberg

            My previous comment should have said BATF = Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

          • John Rogers

            The “Trace the guns” report is interesting. It states that in 2009 there were 142 traced “crime guns” that were originally purchased in Vermont. The report doesn’t actually tell us how many of those guns reached criminal hands through private sales, theft, or other means, but it seems like a reasonable assumption that at least some of those 142 guns might have reached their destination through private sales. It’s not clear how many, if any, of the 142 had been originally sold to law enforcement agencies in VT.

            The report also tells us that the total number of guns traced in 2009 that were sold in one state and used in a crime in another was 43,254. The top ten states included Georgia (first) with 2781, California (ninth) with 1,772, and Arizona (10th) with 1,637. These 10 states account for nearly half (48.5%) of all of the crime guns traced in 2009. So VT exported about 1/3 of one percent of all crime guns that had crossed state lines, and about 5% of the guns exported by the highest single state (GA).

            The report also lists the numbers of guns imported by state, which can be compared to the organization’s website listing where the exported guns are found. Of Vermont’s 142 exported guns, most went to NY and MA. In NY, 41 guns were exported from VT, or about 1% of the 3607 imported crime guns. In MA, 35 were exported from VT, or about 5% of the 689 imported crime guns. In addition to NY, the states that import the most guns are CA (4462), IL (3643), FL (2655), TX (1854) and NJ (1792).

            Looking again at the website we can see that NY imported 364 crime guns from PA, 23 from MA, 63 from CT, and 35 from NJ. NY also exported 60 crime guns to NJ, and 39 to PA.

            Looking at MA, which imported 35 crime guns from VT, we can see there were 105 guns imported from NH, 84 from ME, 27 from RI, 26 from CT, and 11 from NY. Looking at guns exported from MA, we see 5 crime guns exported to VT , 23 to NY, and 21 to NH.

            Of the 50 out of state guns used in VT crimes, 14 were from NH, 5 were from MA, and 2 were from NY.

            It looks like there were 6 states that exported fewer guns than VT: WY (141), SD (126), ND (71), RI (66), HI (30), and DC (13).

            On a per capita basis, VT is the 16th highest exporter. Per capita imports are not reported.

            I am not personally advocating for or against the statement that criminals come to VT to buy guns. But I thought the figures in the report would be interesting to those reading and commenting here.

          • Patrick Cashman

            Two matters should be highlighted, one minor and one major. First the number of guns (“Interstate guns”) is only a small portion of all firearms used in commission of a crime, per the report from this interest group the BATF could only “trace” 61% of guns and of those only 30% of guns used by a criminal in commission of a crime originated in one state and were eventually seized in another. So essentially it expends a lot of effort to make claims about a portion of a portion of the problem while ignoring the whole.

            The second issue is more the point of the report. What it is describing is a crime problem, not a gun problem. If the states with the higher crime rates could address the fundamental issues causing crime within their states, the origin of firearms would be a moot point. Perhaps instead of expending so much effort to lay blame at their neighbors’ doorsteps for a minority of a portion of guns, they should focus on effective crime prevention within their own states.

  • Paul Gross

    If the Governors and Mayors in New York and Massachusetts don’t want their criminals to come up here to “buy” our guns , maybe they should just keep their criminals locked up. After all , if their criminals “buy” their guns up here by trading dope for stolen guns, then one incarcerated creep solves TWO problems.

  • Bob Zeliff

    Weapon that are designed by the military or for the military to be highly effect killers of people should not be treated the same way as a Vermonter’s hunting rifle.

    Under the existing National Fire Arms act, there is a well establish and controlled way for properly vetted individuals to buy, Machine guns, fully automatic guns and other weapons. One must pay $200 for the application and pass the existing criteria. This is fully compliant with the 2nd amendment.

    However the fire arms industry think these NFA controls are too onerous, would limit sales to qualified people, to restricting of profits so are spending a lot of money and using the NRA to confuse people and think that these military weapons should be treated like my old 30-30.

    The National Firearms Act allows people to buy machine guns…the 2nd amendment is preserved now. Let’s use it properly

    We are killing thousand of people and children to preserve and extend these profits. are we proud of this?

    • Stuart Hill

      Do you even know what forearms are restricted by the NFA?

      I have not heard ANYTHING from anyone in the firearms industry that comes even remotely close to your bizarre allegations that, “However the fire arms industry think these NFA controls are too onerous”.

      I would be greatly interested in seeing proof of such statements by anyone in the industry. If, such statements were ever made.

      • Bob Zeliff

        You should read title 27 CFR, chapter 11, Part 478.
        these existing laws allow properly vetted people to own many weapon including the so call assault weapons.

        However the propaganda of the NRA and the industry imply that “govmt” wants to take people guns away.

        Reasonable people want more control on assault weapons than those applied to my old 30-30

        • Stuart Hill

          Bob you’ve yet to back up your claims about statments from the firearms industry.

          Cut the smoke and pony up the proof on your claims.


          “However the fire arms industry think these NFA controls are too onerous,”

          Bob Zeliff March 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm

          • Bob Zeliff

            As a long time hunter, and life member of the NRA ( the current NRA is not the organization I joined 30 years ago) i’ve found myself on many mailing lists.

            I’m sure you seen some of these, too despite you question.

            They preach fear, and encourage “buy’um while you can before Obama will take your guns away”

            They do not say get the proper EXISTING Federal Fire Arms license and you can have your killing machine of choice.

      • krister adams

        Sir, you seem absolutely over-the-top-zealous about maintaining our gun culture the way it is (deadly). Why not have mandatory background checks for ALL gun buyers and greatly restrict access to “gun shows”. What are you afraid of? The NRA has got yoyur back and is very much in the pocket of many Congressfolk. Nobody will take away your guns if you abide by the law. Nobody will infringe on your 14th Amendment rights – it’s my Right and the Rights of 20 dead schoolkids in CT, 12 dead people in CO, several dead worshippers in ILL, etc., etc., etc., to pursue life, liberty & happiness, that I’m concerned about. Aren’t you?

  • Robert Naess

    From the vast number of responses to the Newtown tragedy by those opposed to private possession of firearms and in favour of restricting further the exercise of a right, not one has looked to the responsibility of those parents, town officials for the school and law enforcement who had the entire obligation to protect their children under their care. The constant mantra that “it is for the children” that these intrusions are made against the rights of citizens, has blinded those responsible for the safety of those very children. Despite the overwhelming media coverage over the last fifteen years of the school shootings, these same people have abdicated their true responsibility and clung to the absurd magical hope of “gun free zones” and an irrational phobia of firearms. Firearms made possible every aspect of our country, are used daily by every institutions that has valuables to protect, institutions that these same people use and from which they draw benefit. Ask them to protect their children with a firearm, and you are considered “insane”. Nor will they teach their children how to handle and respect firearms, from fear that their children will be stained and polluted,, but their children are taught to respect very other potentially dangerous activity, device or compound.
    The attitude of the gun bigots, those ignorant of the long history and overwhelmingly responsible and positive use of firearms, enables exactly the kind of destruction we have seen. It is time for them to acknowledge their share of the responsibility and guilt felt by us all for these tragedies, time for them to share the blames andtime for them to engage practical and effective security for their children.
    I ask how many of you know someone who was shot? Then how many of you know someone who died from a car accident? hen how m any from, smoking, alcohol? We allow sacrifices of our children to these causes for any reason that one can imagine, and identify the causes, but when mentally unstable people use firearms for whatever ends, it is he firearm that is to blame.
    We can certainly do better as a society with trying to reduce the number and pain of all deaths, but let’s use some rational assessment and look to short term practical and long term effective solutions.
    The Bill of Rights has been doing its job for 200 plus years, but our citizens are not engaged in protecting the rights to we have and which have helped us towards ideals of freedom and prosperity unmatched anywhere in the world. Many have sacrificed for these rights and we heedlessly ignore them. We all can do a lot better!

    Bob Naess
    cavendish, VT

    • Peter Liston

      “those opposed to private possession of firearms …”

      That actually describes almost no one.

    • Walter Carpenter

      “Despite the overwhelming media coverage over the last fifteen years of the school shootings, these same people have abdicated their true responsibility and clung to the absurd magical hope of “gun free zones” and an irrational phobia of firearms. ”

      An irrational phobia of firearms is it? Should we turn our schools into armed camps of barbed wire and armed guards and guard towers simply to protect our children from the mayhem inflicted by our national phobia of having as many unregulated, untraceable weapons out there in the hands of almost anyone who cares to own one to do whatever they want with it? Should we have armed guards riding every school bus, provide a pistol and bulletproof vest to every child?

      And what is the context of “true responsibility” here? Should children learn to shoot to kill before they learn to read? If we have to make our schools into armed fortresses to protect our children from ourselves, then we have abdicated our “true responsibility” for their health and well being.

      • Walter is hitting the nail on the head. Thank you sir.

        • Walter Carpenter

          Thank you, Rama:)

    • John Greenberg

      Robert Naess is absolutely right. Any parent who doesn’t send his kid to school packing heat is clearly irresponsible. The answer to gun violence in school is clearly more guns.

      Just in case, since some parents are going to shirk their responsibilities, we should have gun and ammo dispensers in school bathrooms and in every classroom. You just never know when a kid will need to defend him or herself.

      • Peter Liston

        Every new student is issued an iPad and a Glock.

  • Jed Guertin

    As we now know most of what is written is from a clear minority of Vermonters.

    The 2nd Amendment states clearly “the right to bear arms.”

    Please all of you who are so keen at making this a Second Amendment issue, define “arms.”

    I assume you take the Founding Fathers at their word?

    So define the term, if you dare.

    • Louis Sullivan

      As defined by the Supreme Court: small arms in common use for legal purposes.

      • Jed Guertin

        If you (or the Supreme Court) can go from the 2nd Amendment’s use of the generic term “arms” to “small arms” then there’s no reason that we can’t, within the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment, exclude automatic and semi-automatic arms with large capacity magazines. The same holds true for specialized bullets.

        It’s all within the scope of the 2nd Amendment. Just like the Supreme Court is out of bounds for carrying a gun. There’s no reason they should be allowed in stores or on the streets.

        Once you’ve defined “arms” as a subset, like “small arms” you have altered the 2nd Amendment.

        At a minimum we need to have a serious tax on all guns and ammo to cover the total cost of putting police in every school.

        • Louis Sullivan

          Uh, no. It isn’t like that at all. The scope of “arms” was not changed to mean small arms at all. It was determined that what was referred to simply as “arms” in the 1700’s matches what are referred to as “small arms” by today’s definition. The Supreme Court decided that what the 2nd amendment applies to are guns that can be carried and operated by one person for legal purposes. In the 1700’s these were called arms. Today, they are called small arms because other types of weapons have been invented. But that isn’t the real reason that people have a problem with banning of certain types of weapons. It is the fact that guns are being targeted for bans for looking scary and no other reason.

          • Jed Guertin

            Using that 1700’s example, I agree there is no problem with people having muzzle loaders, etc. They were at the time the standard. I can even live with most modern hunting rifles and hand guns.

            The next level of “arms” would be a canon or mortar. A dozen people armed with an semi-automatic rifle with a reasonable amount of ammunition could easily eliminate a whole artillery battery in a heart beat. Or let’s try a M32 grenade launcher, smaller and lighter than a muzzle loader, yet shoots grenades up to 1/4 miles. And there are more os these nasty devices along with fully automatic weapons that could be construed as “small arms” because of the simple definition used in the 1700’s.

            Either or any why you want to slice it, the guns used in these mass murders were never imagined by our Founding Fathers. And were not a part of the Founding Father’s lexicon.

            The issue is how quickly they can fire a round and the number of rounds they hold. An automatic and semi-automatic 10 round or more gun is at it’s basic best a point and shoot multi shot instrument. It requires minimum physical and mental effort of the user. Point it at a crowd and pull the trigger and in less than a minute 1 to 30 plus people can be killed.

            Trying to use the language “small arms” of the 1700’s to shoehorn weapons of mass destruction into the 2nd Amendment is illogical. Sadly it will take a few more Newtowns to get the public full attention.

          • Louis Sullivan

            Actually, the reason the term “small arms” is now used is to specifically exclude those weapons like grenade launchers. They are not small arms at all, and I think everyone can agree they are not what should be covered by the 2nd Amendment.

            As for your claim that semi-automatic weapons are killing machines that enable mass murder with childlike ease, I would suggest doing some research on firearms. An “assault weapon” is no more deadly than any semi-auto hunting rifle or pistol, the number of rounds in the magazine makes no difference in the number of people killed, and one shot does not equal one kill. Look at any of the mass shootings in the last two decades and you will see this. Personally, if I had the choice of being shot with a musketball or a modern bullet, I would take the modern bullet that is smaller, not made of lead, and does not flatten on impact with flesh.

  • Cheryl Pariseau

    With the current media coverage of the recent shooting tragedies one thing was a constant… all these shooters were/are mental ill individuals. Why are we discussing restricting gun ownership for private, mentally stable, law abiding, individuals, but not addressing the real reason for theses shootings? More money needs to be spent on helping the mentally ill. Laws need to be made to make it easier to commit someone who is mentally ill. Resources need to be more readily available to assist family and friends of the mentally ill. The courts and law enforcement need to react in a most timely manner when dealing with the mentally ill. Simply sending them to jail where their unique issues are not addressed in unacceptable. All of these efforts to restrict gun ownership is really not addressing the reason for these tragic events.

    • Walter Carpenter

      “Why are we discussing restricting gun ownership for private, mentally stable, law abiding, individuals, but not addressing the real reason for theses shootings?”

      Cheryl, please tell me what the real reason for these shootings was? Was it because they were mentally ill? I do agree with you about providing more help to the mentally ill than we do now (doing this, of course, will mean we will need more money and we as a nation absolutely cannot raise taxes), rather than just tossing them in jail, but, as a survivor of a shooting, I want to know what the reason for these tragic events are.

    • krister adams

      Cheryl, I do agree mental health of our society is an issue that does not get enough attention/funding. However, for example, if the obviously mentally disturbed Mr. Lanza (Newtown) was not allowed to play ultra-violent video (they should be seriously restricted) games or go to shooting ranges or access weapons (or even be near them), 20 schoolkids would be alive troday.

  • Jed Guertin

    I’d say that there are a few of the gun advocates posting here and on a lot of other sites that are on the verge of serious paranoia.

    And without a good national gun and ammo registry system how will you ever know who should or should not have a gun. Especially, without trouncing on everyone’s right to privacy.

  • Robert Naess

    Couple questions:

    Aside from the shooter and the gun, who do you feel is responsible for children’s safety at school?

    Where in the equation of school safety is an appropriate place for firearms?

    Intellectual exercise for all those whose opinions are based wholly on the idea that all guns are bad:

    Make a list of all the positive uses of firearms that you can think of, have been told about or researched on your own.

    Further suggestions for those who only get their incormation/opinions from the media:

    Find on the Internet and read: Heller vs US

    Observation: an armed intruder has only two basic advantages working in his favour when entering any venue to do harm. They are surprise and time. Interfering as fast as possible with either of these advantages will minimize his effect.

    What is the best way to do that?

    Bob Naess

  • Bill Moore


    As the guy who wrote the press release and was interviewed by Anne Gallowy, thank you’all for your enthusiasm. Wow!
    Thank you again Anne for covering this event (if you can sink this far into the abyss).

    Vermont was a constitutional republic before the United States and by the way, before France went about slaughtering its monarchs and it’s democracy loving critics… We are empowered to exercise our democratic rights only under the restrictions we agreed to by our constitution; we do NOT live in a democracy. That way lies the tyranny of the majority. That way lies slavery and monarchy; the two forms of “blood based” tyranny we had to shed in order to fulfill the promise of American Independence. We rejected democracy as a form in order to ensure our “pre-existent, unalienable” rights. That is the argument today.

    Can we repect, tolerate and support our fellow citizens as they exercise those rights in a way that we find offensive? When we tolerated the neo-nazis at Skokie, Illinois spewing hate and anger, and we tolerated the bigots spewing hate and intolerance on the busses of Montgomery, did we cross the line by banning their speech? When hippies spit in the faces of returning Vietnam vets, did we outlaw protesters from the public square? Despite their best efforts, the powers of government could not stop any of it.

    No, we accepted their fear and anger with tolerance and forgiveness while fighting and condemning their oppressive acts in the streets and in the courts. Why? Because their hate and fear and anger was not the problem. It was the laws their fear produced, it was the laws and their enforcers that produced real “discrimination”. We are a nation of laws. We tolerate the intolerant, the bigot, the fearful and the oppressive political demagogue.

    WHY? Simply put, if we don’t, that RIGHT will not exist when we wish to use it for unpopular, radical and disagreeable speech. So ask your neighbor, ask your legislator, ask your anti-gun friends to forgive you. Because when you exercise a “fundamental right” according to Supreme Court of the United States, you are bound to offend someone. Ask that they forgive you and tolerate you so that their righhts will be their when they choose to exercise and enjoy their freedoms. That is the definition of “politically correct”; anything that is a “pre-existent, unalienable” right. Please forgive me.

    They came for the “assault rifle”, I did nothing. They came for the semi-automatic pistol I use to protect my family at night, I did nothing… THEYYYYYY………?

  • Ron Pulcer

    No matter how much “gun safety” training one gets, even a pro at the Secret Service can make a mistake:

    How the Secret Service Almost Shot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    The Atlantic
    Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady
    March 20, 2013

    ‘One morning in September 2006, during the United Nations General Assembly, President George W. Bush’s daily intelligence brief contained a particularly chilling item. It was three sentences long, and it scared the hell out of the dozen or so White House officials cleared to read it. According to one official, it began, “A U.S. Secret Service agent, in an apparent accident, discharged his shotgun as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was loading his motorcade at the InterContinental Hotel yesterday.”’

    Or, to quote Gov. Rick Perry of Texas:


  • Robert Naess

    MR. Greenberg responds:

    >Robert Naess is absolutely right. Any parent who doesn’t send his kid to school packing heat is clearly irresponsible. The answer to gun violence in school is clearly more guns.
    Just in case, since some parents are going to shirk their responsibilities, we should have gun and ammo dispensers in school bathrooms and in every classroom. You just never know when a kid will need to defend him or herself.<

    Of course, I didn't write that at all, nor did I imply it, so Mr Greenberg's reading comprehension is lacking, and such a response is both insulting, childish and reflects a deep hypocrisy masquerading as principled, idealistic concern. Mr Greenberg, you live in a society that values armed protection of every imagineable institution and kind of valuable, many of which you benefit from; you pay for the services of many, many tens of thousands of armed public servants, local, state and federal; you pay for the arming of a vast military; you pay for the armed security of dozens of other nations; you pay for extraordinary armed protection of thousands of political public servants; IF your and our societie's children are SO valuable that saving ONE child is worth it at any cost, WHY are they left without even a modicum of security in so many of our schools?????
    Even a couple of unarmed guards with a decent security system and some architectural safeguards would go a long way. Fortunately, some 40% plus schools already have some presence of security, and in some schools they are armed.
    Of course, an aggressive armed intruder will have maximum destructive effect unless met with some kind of overpowering force. The longer that he is free to move about the more destruction he will create.
    The police are always too far away. A fact that is embarrassing to many who refuse to comprehend, or acknowledge the positive value of firearms, is that the police are ARMED and will be IN the School, but ONLY AFTER the FACT. I guess that's OK because they are the police, right? But, they are too late!!!
    You obviously support "gun free zones", so why not disarm everyone, police of all sorts, the military, etc, etc.
    I am appalled at the prevalence of intellectual dishonesty of the anti-gun responses on this forum. With even a few hours of research on the Internet, anyone can familiarize themselves with cogent and rational discussion on both sides of this issue with verified statistics and analysis of how firearms are actually used in the US positively and effectively for many purposes.
    Instead, most that is put forth is regurgitated media disinformation, irrational phobia, ad hominum attacks, or complete disregard for considered response to another's comments. It is not possible to take your comments seriously when you argue from a position of ignorance of the subject, and respond only with emotion.
    If those of you who are dead set against firearms, it would be much more helpful and productive for you to articulate a rational way to manage them which respects and supports the rights of the citizens, and doesn't further empower the government to ban or confiscate firearms.
    Too many of you sound about firearms just the same way as the far right homophobes sound about homosexuals.
    You can do a lot better than that. Do some research and learn about firearms, it won't hurt you and you might actually come up with some new and fair solutions.

    Robert Naess

    • John Greenberg

      Apparently Mr. Naess has never heard of irony. Enough said.

  • Walter Carpenter

    “verified statistics and analysis of how firearms are actually used in the US positively and effectively for many purposes.”

    Here is a “verified statistic and analysis of how firearms are actually used in the US” While not all Americans, of course, use their weapons in this manner, that this is a manner in which guns are used in America cannot be denied.

    Some notable facts about the use of guns in America:

    97, 820 people shot in America (years 2009-2010)
    268 Americans shot per day
    12,179 Americans murdered by guns

    These macabre statistics do not include how many Americans were shot at and not hit.

  • Richard Neugass

    If just 10% fewer deaths occurred because states like Vermont and the federal government enacted and enforced “sensible” gun control laws, that would be approx. 1,200 fewer deaths from guns (per year?). If just one of the Newtown children who were murdered was YOUR child or grandchild or cousin or …, would you, Mr./Ms. gun owner, feel that nothing else could have been done to prevent that unspeakable tragedy?
    Richard Neugass

  • The other evening I attended a school safety forum at the Williamstown Elementary School that was meant to inform the parents and community about some hardware security upgrades we were making to the building as well let folks know about the in-building emergency procedures.

    This forum was a very direct reaction to the ever increasing assaults by firearms on our nation’s children and young adults in our schools and more specifically the recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Parents are justifiably worried about the safety of their children, and the school staff is appropriately concerned regarding their ability to adequately safeguard those students entrusted to them as well as their, the staff’s, own safety.

    There are two points I want to address here, and I am going to address the least important first to get it out of the way. The second point is by far the priority.

    We are being forced into spending tens of thousands of dollars to physically harden (make bunkers of) our school buildings. This is a cost that is not a part of education but instead is made a requirement due to our having to respond to circumstances outside of school buildings and entirely beyond the control of our educational institutions. If legislators won’t or can’t provide changes in law that will help to reduce the number of and access to firearms in our society then they should at least have the decency to provide financial assistance that is not mistaken as educational spending.

    THE MORE IMPORTANT POINT: I sat at the above mentioned school safety forum and listened as heart broken teachers explained how in the case of a school lock down any student so unfortunate as to be caught outside a classroom would not have a door opened for them to find safety behind. This is a standard practice and the rationale is simple: opening a locked door for one student could endanger the lives of 15 or 20 students already in that room. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are taught the few things that they can do to find shelter in this case, and these children are taught that in the case of the worst and most horrifying possible situation nobody was going to be able to assist them – they would be on their own.

    I could see in the eyes of our educators how emotionally devastated they were just to have to discuss this possibility with the children entrusted to their care. And believe me when I say I was overcome by a very deep sense of sadness.

    I am also extremely angry. I am angry that the above conversation seems to be acceptable, but another conversation, how to reduce the number and lethality of firearms in our nation and state and how to make access to those firearms much more difficult, is a conversation that we can’t have. From my perspective this is due to political cowardice on the part of our elected officials, personal selfishness on the part of firearms manufacturers and too many gun owners, lack of interest by way too many people and a basic misunderstanding of what is going on in society today.

    None of this is happening because of knives or hammers or any other blunt force instrument. Arguments that we are dealing with some new found mental health problem ignore the fact that a dangerous person without a firearm is much less dangerous then one with a firearm.

    What I’ve related above is due to one and only one reason: the over abundance of and easy access to firearms. Mass shootings occur as frequently as they do because those bent on harm find nothing to stop them from obtaining the implements they need to perpetrate their horrific acts. False arguments over non-existent rights to own and access without restraint and restriction any firearm cannot be allowed to override our right to and need for a safe society.

    We should not be teaching our children that firearms are more important then they are. This is an intolerable and unacceptable situation.

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Gun rights groups bring nearly 5,000 letters and petitions to the gov..."