Minter takes the lead on gun control in aftermath of Orlando massacre

Sue Minter

Sue Minter, Democratic candidate for governor and former secretary of the Agency of Transportation. File Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

At the Vermont Democratic Party’s state convention in late May, the only call for gun control regulations came from gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter.

“You can be darn sure I’m going to be a leader who fights for women’s economic security, who fights to end the epidemic of domestic violence, who stands up to the [National Rifle Association] and fights for gun safety,” Minter said in a speech to Democratic Party members.

Vermont has a strong hunting tradition and has among the least restrictive gun control laws in the nation. Politicians, including Gov. Peter Shumlin, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and many members of the Legislature, have shunned proposals that would have banned military assault rifles and ammunition for assault rifles. Pols have also been loath to require background checks for people who have a history of mental illness. In Vermont, and throughout the United States, people on terrorist watch lists are allowed to buy guns.

But the question of banning assault rifles was once again thrust into the political arena following the deadliest shooting in American history — a rampage on Sunday that killed 49 and wounded 54 at a gay bar in Orlando. The perpetrator, Omar Mateen, used an AR-15, a military assault rifle used in the Vietnam war, to massacre LGBTQ dancers.

Minter said Monday that she was devastated by the slayings on Sunday, adding that while there has not been a mass shooting in Vermont, domestic violence involving guns has led to the deaths of many Vermont women. She pointed to 2013 data from the Violence Policy Center that ranked Vermont eighth in the nation for spousal homicide.

“All I know is years of silence makes for more deaths,” said Minter, who is advocating for comprehensive background checks and a ban on assault weapons. “People say we don’t have a problem in Vermont, but I know that we do.”

Before Sunday’s shooting, Minter was the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate who had introduced a comprehensive gun control proposal. The VDP’s official platform, drafted in 2014, also did not mention new gun control policies.

On Monday, the Vermont Democratic Party pledged to call for background checks as part of a revision to the party platform in August.

“A glaring omission from our platform was any reference on guns,” said Conor Casey, the party’s executive director. “If we lose seats for being committed to our values, so be it. But I don’t think it’s an issue we can stay silent on any more.”

Casey also promised to shape a comprehensive strategy for meaningful gun reforms as part of priorities for the next legislative session.

On Monday, the two other Democratic gubernatorial candidates somewhat apologetically, also strengthened their gun control stances.

Peter Galbraith, a former state senator from Windham County, planned at a press conference on Monday to introduce a proposal for free college tuition at Vermont State Colleges, but instead scrapped his original talking points and called for tough gun restrictions.

Galbraith called for a ban on assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets, as well as limits on the size of ammunition magazines. Background checks should be required for all gun purchases, Galbraith said, and he assailed the National Rifle Association as a far-too-powerful organization that “masquerades as an organization of gun-owners, when in reality it is the agent of gun manufacturers.”

The NRA has intimidated lawmakers in the Vermont Legislature and specifically targeted Linda Waite-Simpson, a Democrat from Essex, who proposed firearm restrictions on behalf of a constituent whose son killed himself with a gun.

Galbraith said Democrats have for too long stayed silent about gun control in Vermont.

“Political leaders – and I’ll confess, myself included—have ducked this conversation,” Galbraith said.

“I didn’t take on this issue, and I wish I had,” Galbraith added. “But I’m taking it on now.”

Dunne, like his opponents, called for universal background checks and stressed that people on terrorist watch lists, as well as known domestic abusers and people suffering with certain mental illnesses should also be barred from owning weapons.

“We in Vermont have a proud history of responsible gun ownership,” Dunne said. “While it’s tempting to think of our state as separate from the atrocities we’ve witnessed in Orlando, San Bernadino and Charleston, we have a responsibility to remember the fact that we are more connected than ever before, and to ensure our state laws preserve our way of life while protecting our neighbors, both in Vermont and in other states.”

The Republican gubernatorial candidates — Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman — offered condolences for the victims of the Orlando shooting while reiterating their positions that the state’s gun laws do not need to be changed. The Vermont Republican Party’s official platform does not address gun regulations.

“I believe Vermont’s gun laws are good and do not need to be changed,” Lisman said in a statement. “Vermont has among the lowest violent crimes rate per capita involving gun use among any state.”

Lisman also called for an investigation into how Mateen, the Orlando shooter, was able to remain at large even after being flagged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Scott echoed Lisman, saying the state’s current gun laws “strike an important balance between our rights as American citizens and public safety, and I would not support any further restrictions.”

While Vermont Democrats have pledged to fight harder next session for gun control measures, past efforts have resulted in gridlock. Last session, for example, the Legislature rejected a Burlington ordinance that would have allowed police to confiscate firearms, ammunition and other weapons from people suspected of domestic violence; required that firearms be kept locked and stored in homes; and banned firearms from establishments serving alcohol.

Ed Cutler, president and legislative director of Gun Owners of Vermont, said a key reason the Orlando shooting was so deadly is because Florida bans weapons in bars.

“He just started killing people and there was nobody in that building that could have defended those people because it was a gun-free zone,” Cutler said. “If there was one person or more to defend those people, it would have drastically reduced the number of casualties.”

Jasper Craven

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  • Neil Johnson

    If you are not willing to defend our state and federal constitution, how can you run for office? It is the sworn duty. Women are smart and resourceful.

    • So your statement means until the Constitution was changed it was the President’s sworn duty to enforce slavery? And oppression against women? Just curious. If the Constitution required sacrificing your first born would you uphold it with your own first born? Just because something is written doesn’t mean it isn’t crazy or evil. It just means it was written down. Going back to the bible, my ancestor Abraham was one evil dude willing to kill his own son for glory. Had I been Abraham I would of said F-U my family is more important than your stinking religion because that was the right thing to do.

      But yes if running for office, while you are allowed to run on the platform of changing the constitution legally through the proper process, until you change it you should be upholding it.

      • Neil Johnson

        Aside from no argument you clearly have not read, nor do you understand the bible. You do know bits and pieces. But the whole thing breaks down to one word, Love. It’s a law without fail. If you’d like to discuss what moral teachings from Jesus you disagree with I’m all ears. Best moral teacher ever. That part comes much later in the book, btw.

        Who’s talking about slavery and oppressing women? NOt me.

  • robert bristow-johnson

    So what is the Right’s solution to our gun problem?

    More Guns!

    • Jon Corrigan

      We well understand the Left’s solution – punish everyone for the actions of a few.

      • David Van Deusen

        No.. Not the Left. Aspects of the Democratic Party is more accurate. I am a Progressive and very much Left of these candidates and oppose all aspects of gun control.

    • Neil Johnson

      Here are some questions asked about our current gun problems and Chicago

  • I am very proud of Minter’s responsible stance to protect Vermont’s most vulnerable citizens. I must point out the Ed Cutler is flat out wrong in his closing comments of the article. There was an armed off-duty officer who returned fire the moment Mateen opened fire. The only way to prevent this tragedy was to prevent Mateen from getting weapons in the first place.

    • Neil Johnson

      Women are not victims, they are strong smart and resourceful. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out, get out soon. Better yet, don’t move in with the jerk, better yet don’t get physical with him. We all make mistakes, that doesn’t make us victims, it means we made a mistake and we can change our minds and actions.

    • Tim Maighdon

      Ed Cutler is absolutely 100% correct.

      • He simply does not seem to have his fact straight in this case. Officer Adam Gruler, was outside the club and armed and fired on Mateen immediately. This was not a gun free-zone, there was at least one armed person there who fought back and 49 people were killed in spite of that.

        • Roger Carnahan

          So there was an off-duty officer on the scene immediately, and he couldn’t stop the shooter while over a 100 people got shot. I must be missing something.

        • Ed Cutler

          David Gidden. Yes there was an off duty cop on the seen and was the first to be fired on. At this moment we do not know if he was wounded before he returned fire or not.. Considering the man who did this heinous act spent 3 or more hours in that club. If one or more people had a way do defend themselves they might have saved some lives. As it stands now no one had a chance

          • While you are absolutely right that had there been more armed people lives may have been saved in this case. Ultimately I do not buy into the idea that the best way to prevent these horrendous instances is more heroes with guns. Even here we have a man with a gun returning fire and this tragedy was not prevented. The best way to prevent these tragedies is to prevent people like Mateen from acquiring weapons in the first place.

            I also question the wisdom of introducing weapons into tightly packed clubs, especially given the presence of alcohol (and likely other drugs). I think in terms of policy mass shootings are thankfully rare, so club goers are safer with patrons not having guns.

  • Ed Fisher

    To far more reasonable people , It is becoming increasingly obvious that most all liberals , And Especially Vermont Liberals have no idea whatsoever on the real issues and causes of violent crime in America or Vermont ! These very same liberals look at a guns the very same way they look at politics and they see only black or white ! Never the more varying in between colors of any issue ! The very term , ” Assault weapon ” is a much biased and misdirected terminology used by the leftist media , it essentially describes a black gun !

    An “assault weapon ” is any weapon to be used for that exact purpose . given that most crimes aren’t even committed by black gun ” Assault weapons “, I would say this candidate is looking in the wrong direction to solve crime that she knows absolutely nothing about ! THAT is the real problem , You might say “but that’s your opinion ” and I say , she needs to take a hard look at real crime statistics !

    And We, keep making the same mistake of electing these same people to office !

    • You can make your point without bringing in the term ‘liberals’. All guns are technically assault weapons. Doesn’t matter their color. But we don’t need weapons of war on the streets.

  • Recently Vermont scored as one of the best states on Gun Violence why because Vermonters have grown up with a tradition of owning guns and using them safely. I will bet Sue Minter is a flatlander who came to Vermont and has no idea of what it is to grow up a kid and be taken in hand by their father hunting. The guns the killer owned were legally bought by a man the FBI checked so she wants more laws which will only allow more criminals to get guns, I hope her next election is challenged and a true Vermonter gets elected. She apparently hasn’t read about the domestic violence in England and countries with gun control such as in the Belguim and Paris incidents.

    • Neil Johnson

      My grandmother had a gun in her night stand. Most women in Vermont have grown up in a family that has guns. They realize guns are the great equalizer, an 80 year old woman can hold off several thugs.

      The two parties want us fighting and following their scripts, the less we think, the more propaganda we believe is news, the more the DNC, RNC and LOBBYISTS can have their way. If you follow the script of your party you will be rewarded. Surely Sue is looking for great rewards from the DNC

      • Has there been many cases in Vermont where an 80 year old woman needs to hold off several thugs? On your point Neil I actually feel only women should own guns that aren’t used for hunting. If a man needs a handgun for protection he needs to call the police. If he needs a weapon of war then he needs to go to war and join the military.

        • Jamie Carter

          Well that’s a rather sexist comment… if a women needs a gun for protection then fine. If a man needs one for protection tough. The man further needs to join the military but not the woman?

        • Neil Johnson

          That is a pretty sexist remark, men and women should be treated equally, they should have the same rights. Please, there is a difference in arguing for what you want and for finding the truth.

        • Linda Wysocki

          Howie…have there been cases where people need to protect their livestock from critters and cases where police response time is way too long to be effective? Have you ever shot an AR-15? From a woman’s perspective, its easy to handle with little recoil, much less than a shotgun, making it a good choice. Please don’t limit my options for self defense just because you find the black gun scary…they do come in pink!

        • There was an elderly woman in Rutland Town a few years ago. It caused quite a stir. A dingbat broke into her house during the night, started cooking breakfast, and slowly ate his meal while the woman walked into the kitchen. Imagine the fear she must have felt—a robust stranger calmly eating food from the fridge. Obviously the man chose to terrorize this lady because she was vulnerable. But not all 80-year-old Vermonters are to be robbed, especially those who know where the gun is.

          • Neil Johnson

            So from this transaction are we to infer that if we feed all those who break into our homes everything will be ok? It’s a cute story, but for some reason I don’t think it’s based upon the normal situations of robbery, theft and rape. Would you suggest this with all those actual victims? Are you suggesting if they opened the fridge at the Pulse he wouldn’t have shot everyone? Perhaps Sue has an opening on her new security for you.

          • No, perhaps if the woman had the means to protect herself, on her property, without assumption her age or sex disarms her defacto, a burgler would stand a lesser chance of robbing her to start with.
            Simply put, burglaries on private citizens would decrease after a foolish criminal has a gun pointed at him from the rightful owner of a house, hopefully for the first and last time.
            There’s no excuse for bad behavior.

    • Randy Jorgensen

      “I will bet Sue Minter is a flatlander who came to Vermont and has no idea of what it is to grow up a kid and be taken in hand by their father hunting. ”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_Minter

      “Minter was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and lived in Philadelphia. Her family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, while she was in high school. Minter graduated from the Moses Brown School in 1979,[1] and from Harvard University with a concentration in sociology in 1983. She then earned a master’s degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She moved to Vermont in 1991 to become a consultant for the Conservation Law Foundation.[2]”

      • Neil Johnson

        Conservation Law Foundation, that pretty much sums things up. Lobbyists.

    • George Wanner

      Well said; Here is the wiki on Sue Minter was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and lived in Philadelphia. Her family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, while she was in high school. Minter graduated from the Moses Brown School in 1979,[1] and from Harvard University with a concentration in sociology in 1983. She then earned a master’s degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She moved to Vermont in 1991 to become a consultant for the Conservation Law Foundation

  • William Geller

    A summary of where Reagan stood on guns:

    – As Gov. of California, Reagan signed the Mulford Act which prohibited the carrying of firearms on your person, in your vehicle and in any public place.

    – As Gov. of Cal. Reagan signed off on a 15-day waiting period for guns.

    – As president he signed into law a ban on ownership of fully automatic rifles.

    – After leaving the presidency he supported the Brady Bill which provided for a 7-day waiting period for guns.

    – In 1994 he wrote Congress supporting a ban on assault rifles.

    • Randy Jorgensen

      You mean this Ronald Reagan?

      Ronald Reagan – 2nd Amendment Supporter: In 1975, Reagan wrote, “The gun has been called the great equalizer, meaning that a small person with a gun is equal to a large person, but it is a great equalizer in another way, too. It insures that the people are the equal of their government whenever that government forgets that it is servant and not master of the governed.”

      http://static.ijreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/AR-130209984-1024×708.jpg

      Here are some others from the other side of the isle:

      Harry Truman – 2nd Amendment Supporter: He wrote a letter to the NRA, saying he hoped “the splendid program which the National Rifle Association has followed during the past three-quarters of a century will be continued.”

      John F. Kennedy – Second Amendment Supporter: He was a lifetime member of the NRA, and said the 2nd Amendment will “always be important.”

    • Reagan sure sucked economically for the US but he seemed to do pretty good on guns. Thank you for clarifying.

  • Jessie McIndoe

    Minter spouts a party line that has already brought ruin to Vermont. What happened in Orlando, and in California, was the result, not of guns, but of islam. Where does Minter stand on importing radical hate organizations into Vermont and the USA? I think she has turned a blind eye to the problem and instead would encourage more slaughter by disarming citizens so they cannot defend themselves from domestic and imported fanatics and terrorists. Minter is not what Vermont needs, now or ever.

    • Excuse me but the Orlando event was by a mentally ill crazy gay hater who turned out was gay himself. Not because of Islam. Note the white christian guy who tried to do the same in LA the same day and wow not in the news anymore. Yet he was just as crazy.

    • Tiki Archambeau

      How is your comment not flagged, Jessie? Seriously, you’re the first to denigrate an entire religion over Orlando, but heaven forbid we blame white males for Newtown. Well, then more excuses fly than armor-piercing bullets at a KKK rally.

  • Well, I know exactly who I am NOT voting for- any of the democrats. If you don’t respect our gun rights you don’t get my vote. I’ll make sure everyone remembers these candidates stance on our gun rights come election time.

    • David Van Deusen

      I am thinking that we should elect Spaceman Bill Lee in as Governor!

    • There are many reasons not to vote Democrat this fall. But gun control is not one of them. If a mentally ill crazy person shot the rest of your family would you still uphold that person’s right to buy guns? Think about it. I don’t have the right to own a Nuke nor a Tank. The 2nd Amendment was written when single shot long time to reload muskets were the only guns (plus cannons).

      • It absolutely is a reason not to vote for any democrats. Mr. Goldfarb I believe that you know very little about firearms. If you were more educated about rifles in general you wouldn’t make such foolish comments.
        And no one is advocating for criminal to have access to firearms, but you already know that. You are simply trying to spin.
        As a young educated professional I will never vote for anyone that support infringing on my gun rights. As an immigrant, it will never cease to amaze me how easily Americans are swayed to give up their rights in the name of perceived safety. It’s very sad that I came to this country to enjoy freedom but you are ready to give up yours because of fear and ignorance.

        • David Van Deusen

          Yep. For the most part, many if not the majority of elected Democrats in Vermont are not serving working class Vermonters well. And those that get behind gun control (like a ban on semi-automatic rifles) are not the type I will vote for. And hey Democrats, where is our univeral healthcare? Where is our livable wages? Why do you keep privatizing essentual State services like Workers Comp? Where is the support for Organized Labor? This is why I am a Progressive, and this is why Spaceman Bill Lee will do better in this election then you think, and rightly so!

      • Will Waizenegger

        Technically, you are allowed to own a tank. And a jet fighter as a matter of fact. Both are expensive hobbies, though.

      • Jessie McIndoe

        I don’t know of any law that prevents you from owning a tank. There are many private tank owners that have a fully functioning tank. It is unlawful, I believe, to fire it in a public place. As for nukes, well you can’t own a bomb of course but I understand most nuclear power plants (in the US at least) are privately or corporately owned.
        https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/tag/private-tank-ownership/

  • Russ Williams

    Candidates for office should more mindfully consider the oath to which they submit themselves should they win the election: ” … to protect and defend,” not to unstitch and destroy the Constitution of the United States. If Minter cannot accept that satance, she should remove herself from the race. This, indeed, is the one stance for which citizens should make themselves responsible when considering casting a vote: “Does this person stand among those in a long line of candidates who swore to ” … protect and defend,” and then did so, or among those who took that same oath but then proceeded to undo the Constitiution: Wilson, Roosevelt, Carter, Obama. There is nothing so egregious as a presumed candidates who cannot take the oath intending to stand by that oath, but who would dishonor the oath and themselves, especially when they know so in advance.

    • Will Waizenegger

      And if Minter still doesn’t understand the plain meaning of the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, then how about Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution, which is even more plain and simple than that?

      It is extremely obvious this woman is not fit for the office of governor of Vermont. Plenty more choices this year.

      http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/constitution-of-the-state-of-vermont/

  • Jamie Carter

    “Dunne, like his opponents, called for universal background checks and stressed that people on terrorist watch lists, …be barred from owning weapons.”

    I like Matt, but he is flat out wrong here. A person on the terrorist watch list has committed no crime, has not been charge with a crime, and has not been convicted of a crime. As such would be unconstitutional to take away that person’s 2nd amendment rights. You just can’t do that, and if you think it’s a good idea then you really have no business being in government at all, let alone as the chief executive.

  • Kim Hebert

    “All I know is years of silence makes for more deaths,” said Minter. If this is all she knows then I suggest she shut up. Mass shooting haven’t gone up in this country in the last 40 years. However our media has “progressed” dramatically. The sensationalizing of killing and other disasters has become an art form. Profits sore off the misery of others. I do not try to minimize what happened in Orlando at the hands of this madman with an assault rifle. But the reality is our terrorist enemies have proven themselves very resourceful. They have flown planes into buildings, blown up planes in flight, used knives, hatches and cars as weapons. The use of IED’s on the battlefield was a deadly game changer for our powerful military. Moving forward these people would like nothing more than to divide us and disarmed us as they most assuredly will continue to try to kill us. Sorry folks, the idea banning this gun would make us safer is just B.S.

  • David Van Deusen

    Take the year 2010 for example….

    Vermont:
    • Essentially there are no gun control laws (in comparison to the rest of the nation);
    • 42% gun ownership rate (19th highest in the nation);
    • 7 total murders (lowest in the nation);
    • 2 murders committed with guns (lowest in the nation);
    • 1.1 murders per 100,000 residence (second lowest in nation);
    • 0.3 murders with guns per 100,000 residence (lowest in nation);

    Do you think gun control in Vermont would reduce our murder rate to zero? Please… Point being, show me a problem (that is not just your ideological predisposition) then I would consider having a conversation. I subscribe to the ‘if it aint broke don’t fix it’ maxim.

    Pushing for gun control in Vermont is nothing more than handing an effective wedge issue to the Right to get working class people to vote against their own economic interests. (As a member of the Progressive Party) it seems like a piss poor idea to me. I would suggest we not import Democratic Party ideology from Washington DC to the Green Mountains for its own sake. Seems we’ve been doing just fine without it, and I (like many) prefer to retain my (Vermont) Constitutional Rights that have worked well for 200 years.

    • Tim Maighdon

      While I wholeheartedly agree with your Democratic Party ideology ban from DC to VT, we haven’t been doing just fine without it. We’ve been devastated by it, particularly under the Shumlin regime.

      • Will Waizenegger

        I believe David’s referring to gun ownership. The rest is a different debate.

      • David Van Deusen

        Good point Tim. And if you mean (under Shumlin) not getting any of the tough things done, not following through on real healthcare reform, giving lip service to livable wages but not making mainingful improvements for working people, continuing the trend to privatize essentual public services, etc., then I 100% agree!

      • Mike Ferzoco

        You’re right, Tim, unemployment well under 5% is HORRIBLE.

  • Rich LaRouche

    Thank you sue for wanting Vermonters to become victims just like those people in that club. Makes me feel wonderful inside that someone like yourself doesn’t believe in upholding Vermonts laws or the constitution of the US but wants to become a ruler.
    Thank you Sue Minter for never letting a tragedy go to waste to push an agenda.

    • Neil Johnson

      If Governor will she give up her armed security?

  • Jasper Craven incorrectly reports that ALL Democratic gubernatorial candidates support strengthening gun control laws, which is simply not true.

    There are five candidates on the Democratic ballot in August and at least one believes that enforcing our current gun regulations will act to sufficiently protect all Vermonters. It is foolish to pile on more regulations and rules when the authorities already have the tools necessary to prevent guns from being sold to those deemed inappropriate to own them. Lost in the conversation is the fact that criminals, by definition, have no interest in complying with gun laws or for that matter any laws other than the “law of the jungle.” In rural communities, where police protection is equally sparse, the possession of an effective firearm in the hands of a competent owner is the best guarantee of a positive outcome during an assault on “home and hearth.”

    The gun control folks ultimately seek to disarm the citizenry to insure compliance with the cornucopia of rules, regulations, laws and taxes that the political class seeks to impose on them.

    The founders and framers of the Constitution of the United States and the Vermont Constitution sought to provide the citizenry with rights to not only hunt, but more importantly protect themselves, their families, their homes and their community from intrusions by criminals, foreign invaders and an overtly intrusive government.

    H. Brooke Paige
    Democratic Candidate for Governor and Attorney General

  • Tim Maighdon

    Never, ever vote for a Democrat. They are destroying our state and our country.

    • Mike Ferzoco

      Never, ever vote repub. The last one drove our Nation into a ditch, got us into a bogus war, and nearly had us in soup lines. They have clearly demonstrated that they are incapable of governing, have contempt for both democracy and the poor. BTW, do you like your tax dollars going to exxon, etc.? If not , NEVER vote repub.

  • There has never been a case of a citizen stopping a mass shooting gun event with their own gun. Ed Cutler is just a gun radical who makes no sense. I am not for Sue Minter and will be voting for Phil Scott…as a Democrat.

    Banning assault rifles has to be done at a national vs state level. Or it doesn’t work. But we can do better with background checks, mental health, and other forms of responsibility. I lived for 17 years in Los Angeles and was witness to a gang drive by in 1994 outside a night club. We don’t have the level of gun violence seen in big cities and elsewhere. Gun owners in Vermont tend to be hunters vs radicals (white Christians who buy guns out of fear of Clinton or Obama taking them..are radicals no different than jihadists except they buy them for defense vs offense),

    Using the 2nd amendment is silly because the Founding Fathers would of written it differently if they were doing it today. Back then there was no automatic weapons. And after shooting your one musket ball you were a sitting duck having to reload.

    We need to ban handguns and assault weapons nationally. They are not needed. If no one had them we would have very little gun crime because you can’t hide a rifle or shotgun like a hand gun and hunting weapons aren’t weapons of mass killings per trigger squeeze. If you need a gun for physical defense you need to call the police. And if you need a gun because you feel it makes you a bigger man…it just makes you a weaker man Sorry but it is the truth. Real men don’t need guns except for hunting.

    • Frank Beardsley

      You’re absolutely wrong about citizens stopping a potential mass shooter; the reason it didn’t become a mass shooting was because of them. From April 2015 (Chicago Tribune):
      “Authorities say no charges will be filed against an Uber driver who shot and wounded Everardo Custodio, 22, who opened fire on a crowd of people in Logan Square over the weekend.” There are plenty more examples, but I’ll bet you knew that.

    • Linda Wysocki

      That’s because the shootings you refer have taken place in gun free zones….no armed citizens allowed.

    • Cheryl Ganley

      Howie you are incorrect. Citizens have stopped many mass shootings from happening with their own guns:

      (1)Pearl High School – 10-01-97 – The Assistance Principal Joel Myrick stopped Luke Woodham from killing more people with his personal gun. A .45 caliber handgun. 2 students were killed and 7 injured

      (2)Parker Middle School – 04-24-98 – James Strand who owned the hall the school dance was held in stopped Andrew Wurst with his personal shotgun. 1 teacher killed and 2 students injured

      (3)Appalachian School of Law – 01-16-02 – Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross stopped Peter Odighizuwa after he had killed 3 and wonder 3 others. They were impeded by having to retrive their guns in their cars because of the school being a gun free zone

      (4)Clackamas Town Center – 12-11-12: Nick Meli who was at the mall shopping drew his gun causing Jacob Tyler Roberts to retreat and take his own life. No one was injured or killed.

      (5)Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital – 07-25-14 – Dr. Lee Silverman used his personal firearm to mortally wound Richard Plotts a patient at a psychiatric clinic who had just killed his case worker. This prevented the shooter from leaving the office and potentially killing more individuals.

      You can see where I am going with this and could show you dozens of other examples. Please do some research before labeling someone a “gun radical who makes no sense”

      (1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_High_School_shooting
      (2)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Middle_School_dance_shooting
      (3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_School_of_Law_shooting
      (4)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clackamas_Town_Center_shooting
      (5)http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Mercy-Fitzgerald-Hospital-on-Lockdown-268489642.html

      • Lana Lundeen

        Cheryl that was powerful information. Thanks for researching and informing !

  • Patricia Goodrich

    We face a choice: Live in constant fear or pass reasonable restrictions on military-type weapons and ammunition. Protect people from domestic abusers and people who have a history of violence by prohibiting them from legally buying firearms. And why would we not want to prevent people on the known terrorists from legally buying guns? If you need an assault weapon to hunt, then you need to improve your hunting skills, especially if you are hunting for the purpose of providing food for your family. Pieces of lead do not add to the flavor of venison, moose, or bear.

    • Wayne Michaud

      This is simply a sane viewpoint and just common sense. There is no arguing that assault weapons are designed for militias. They must be banned for anyone else. Enough is enough.

      • edward letourneau

        No one can buy an assault weapon. You anti-gun people need to find out what you are talking about. An AR-15 is no more an assault weapon, than the chevy you buy is a race car.

        • “…if an AR-15 can be used to assault large crowds of people, killing and maiming scores of them, on multiple occasions, it qualifies as an assault weapon.”

          http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/06/economist-explains-11

          • Florence Hood

            Well then, I own many “assault weapons” if that’s the definition we are using. Your post is proof that the gun grabbers won’t stop at banning the semi-automatic AR15. We will never compromise with you folks and we will fight damn hard to make sure no gun control is passed anywhere in our great nation. It’s sick how easily Americans that were born in this country are willing to give up their rights due to ignorance and fear.

          • Florence – Vermont is a great state and I hope we never have a true mass shooting here. But we do not have a truly great nation when there are 33,000 people killed by guns. Now that is what is sick. Many other countries (where there is more gun control) are perplexed or appalled by all the gun killings in America. I believe in the second amendment and the right to defend oneself, but we need to do something to save thousands of lives annually, and to eliminate the suffering of loved to those killed. Something has got to change. I ask you to open your mind and your heart and have a little compassion. This is a tragic thing in this country. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  • Mark Keefe

    The AR-15 is not, by definition, and assualt rifle. The AR-15 was not in Vietnam – the M-16 with an automatic setting was in Vietnam. As far a background checks (that I have no problem with) the perpetrator of this massacre passed one. Here is Hillary’s comment ““If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorists links you shouldn’t be able to go buy a gun with no questions asked,” I agree. How about if the FBI is watching you for failing to safeguard sensitive intelligence….should you be able to have your figure on the nuke button?

  • David Van Deusen

    Gun control in Vermont is a solution looking for a problem.

    If we are to be rational, we need to understand the facts. During the 10 years we had a federal assault weapons ban (1994-2004). For that period, in Vermont (and I do like to think we are talking about Vermont) there were a total of 129 murders (again not differentiated between guns, knives, stones, sticks and the like). For the 10 years that followed (through 2014), even though the assault weapons ban was lifted, we had 103 murders. I could also point out that the most amount of murders ever committed in one year in Vermont was in 1976 when we had 26 [more than doubling what we experienced in 2013 & 2014]. I am guessing that not too many semi-automatic rifles were around 40 years ago. I do not in any way claim that these crime rates decreased because of an increased access to semi-automatic rifles. Rather I find it factually telling that their banning (or lack of accessibility) did not decrease the murder rate. In Vermont the citadel of gun control rests in an almost religious (ideological) belief, not in reality. But the reality remains that if the Vermont Democratic Party pushes for such self-defeating (and unnessesary) measures, it will turn working class voters into Republican and Libertarian voters. In the Green Mountains, there is (plain-and-simple) no wining the gun control argument on actual facts. That said, let’s not try to ironically shoot ourselves in the foot because we want to be more like the New York and Chicago liberals. Maybe that’s your bag, but it sure as hell aint mine.

    But look, if folks believe we should do all we can to reduce gun murders in Vermont (2010: from 2 to 1?), ok, let’s start by doing more to eradicate social alienation by creating jobs via public works. If the goal is to reduce the number of suicides (by guns or otherwise) lets adequately fund and staff our mental health systems. If the goal is to reduce accidental gun deaths, let’s have the Hunter Safety Course mandatory in public school. All of these are things that I, as a gun owner [semi-automatic rifle], a Vermonter, and a Progressive Party member can get behind (and I think all of us should). But to degrade our gun ownership rights because, what, Democratic Party ideology? No thanks. I will vote Third (and Forth) Party.

    • Well said, David. These facts and statistics are to be admired. Investing in public services and infrastructure, in short, people working, is one solution to making Vermont safer than it already is.

      I want to add, Switzerland has some of the least restrictive firearm laws in the world, and yet…it is a good place to live.

  • John McClaughry

    Every gun issue story is replete with passive voice – “ought to be banned” – and proposed actions by “we”. Watch for this: a politician who forthrightly says “Government (US or VT) officials should decide who can possess a firearm, and seek out and confiscate any firearms possessed by persons deemed ineligible, by virtue of their names appearing on a government list starting with felons and persons involuntarily committed for mental illness (already ineligible), and continuing with all other persons deemed by those running the government to be unsuitable owners.”
    Will Minter, Dunne and Galbraith stand up and take that utterly repugnant (to me) position? Probably not, but I could at least respect their candor if they did.

    • Matt Miller

      Mr. McClaughry, I believe you to be far more capable at arguing a point than you are demonstrating here. The immediate leap to confiscation is a ploy and a red herring. There are any manner of arguments you can employ here to justify your position, and yet you stoop to this? I’m disappointed. Hunting and protection of the home have long underpinned the our current understanding of 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms. However, there is no constitutional requirement that this right extend to anyone being able to keep and bear any arm, anywhere. Just as we would not generally understand the 2nd amendment to permit the household possession of suitcase nukes (see? there are absurd arguments on both sides), nor should we understand it to mean that any and all firearms are permissible for anyone anywhere. No skilled hunter has need of a 30 round clip. Nor is that necessary for home defense. What we can do is set aside the absurdities and the rhetoric, recognize that the problem is multi-faceted, and do what Vermont tradition would have us do — get to work. Together. It’s long past time to decide to be better and smarter than this, and take a practical, pragmatic, Vermont approach to show the country what can be done to advance a peaceful, functional and safe society. I don’t want government overreach, nor do I think there is a place for high-capacity weapons of mass murder in the greatest society on earth. Don’t you think we can do better?

      • Linda Wysocki

        Matt I’m sorry but I disagree on limiting the size of clips. Read this article about the torture, rape and murder of the Petit family in Meriden, CT. These sick men committed heinous acts all without guns. If this was your family, how would you feel? CT currently limits clips to 10 rounds, own one bigger and if you failed to register it with the state, now you’re a felon.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/07/nyregion/07slay.html?_r=0

        • Matt Miller

          Tell us, please, exactly how a thirty-round clip would have changed the outcome of that tragedy? Here’s the thing, it’s easy to imagine all the butt-kicking we might do with our very own stockpile of advanced weaponry should some derelict bent on doing harm find their way into our home. That’s what happens in the movies, after all. But in reality, how many of us are really prepared to respond in such a situation? Our law enforcement and military professionals train constantly in order to be able to accurately and effectively use their weapons in a high-stress situation, and even with that training, sometimes situations get the better of them. Why should we think that an average homeowner who isn’t a trained professional would do as well or better? That just doesn’t make any sense. Half of us or more have a hard enough time driving around town without making a mistake, let alone be ready to jump in an F1 car and safely navigate a racetrack at 200mph. I’m not saying owning a gun for home and self defense is unreasonable, I am saying there should be room for discussion as to what limits might also be reasonable.

          • Linda Wysocki

            Please leave the decision about what is reasonable up to the individual. You’re not in my shoes, and I’m not in yours. A 30 round cartridge is not “advanced weaponry”. You seem to think an “average homeowner” is a bumbling dunderhead, incapable of taking care of themselves and being a responsible gun owner. Please go to a gun range and work with an NRA certified instructor to learn the facts first hand.

          • Matt Miller

            No amount of time at a gun range is a substitute for training to respond in a kinetic environment or high-stress situation. That is why our police and military don’t just go train at gun ranges (which would be MUCH cheaper for them). Your assumptions about what I think notwithstanding, I think most gun owners in Vermont are responsible and knowledgeable. That doesn’t mean they are trained to use a weapon in a defensive way in a threatening situation. Again, how does a high-capacity magazine solve the home invasion problem?

          • Linda Wysocki

            its simple math…had anyone in the Petit household been armed with a semi-automatic holding 30 rounds, odds are they would have a better chance at surviving versus a semi-auto with 10 rounds and avoiding time to load a new cartridge. Two moving targets, more bullets are needed to disable the invaders. It doesn’t solve the problem…the legal system clearly failed by repeatedly freeing these long term criminals.
            It’s very clear by all your comments you have no personal real life experience with guns and are taking others opinions and experiences as truth. Why do that? Go find out for yourself what the different guns are all about and formulate your own truth.

          • Neil Johnson

            The average response time for the state police is 45 minutes. That is for most of our state. There is no gun problem in Vermont other than the lobbyists, DNC and out of state Mayor and wealthy trying to change our small state. That is only gun problem.

      • Frank Beardsley

        How do you know what’s necessary for home defense, Mr. Miller – are you an expert in the area? Have you ever had to defend a home? Every time some nutcase yells ‘Allahu Akbar’ and murders people, we’re subjected to the typical drivel blaming firearms because you don’t want to be seen as ‘Islamophobic’. Tough – I will not work with you – I’ll fight you every step of the way. You’re welcome to move to Chicago, where the toughest gun control in the country exists, but it doesn’t stop the 70-80 shootings every week.

        • Florence Hood

          I’m right with you Mr. Beardsley. I will never compromise with my gun rights.

        • Matt Miller

          Do you? I have a close relative who is a former special operator with extensive experience. He does not keep his combat weapons, magazines and tac gear at the ready for a home invasion, and scoffs at the idea. Stomp your feet all you want, but consider this…. the number of households that own guns in this country has been steadily declining. The demographic trends are not with you. You can refuse to compromise all you want but, at some point, there will be enough folks who disagree to change the rules. Why, at that point, should they bother to compromise with you then, when you weren’t willing to do so yourself? I think you are gambling with your convictions, here.

          Rather than insisting on absolutist policies, why not work together to come up with something we can all live with, instead? I agree with you — guns are not the problem, but some types of weaponry contribute to the scale of the tragedy. Gun control isn’t the answer to stopping mass shootings, it’s bigger than that. But basic economic principles still work. Reduce the demand and supply will go down. If people aren’t buying high capacity magazines, companies will make less of them, and they will be more expensive and harder to find, even for criminals.

          • Linda Wysocki

            You’re assuming the bad guys will follow the laws. No matter what restrictions are put into place, there’s always a black market to provide what is no longer legally available. And there is the question of what do you do about guns, ammo, etc that were legal pre-ban. Currently those items are exempt. Do you try to confiscate them?

          • Matt Miller

            Linda, I would be among the first in line to defend your right to own a gun, and would decry any attempt by government to confiscate legally-purchased weapons from those who can lawfully own them. I never suggested confiscation or criminalization of possession of any item, nor have i suggested registration. I also made it clear that I am not suggesting criminals will suddenly decide to stop seeking illegal weapons. Before you write me off as some radical gun-control advocate, take a moment to consider, fairly, what I am saying. What I did actually say is that as demand decreases from legal sales, so will supply. Manufacturers aren’t going to maintain production solely for the black market. As legal supply declines (starting with no further availability for purchase in stores of high-capacity magazines), the illegal supply (which mostly starts life as legal product) will decline, driving costs up. Over time, this has an impact on both legal and illegal markets. No, it won’t ever go away, but less supply means more time and effort involved in acquiring these things. Time that could afford an opportunity for prevention. There is no quick fix here. Anyone who thinks there is is mistaken. Banning everything won’t fix it. Arming everyone everywhere won’t fix it. Let’s take a more thoughtful, long-term approach. We can reject the old saw sloganism on both sides, and start getting real about things.

          • Frank Beardsley

            Yes, actually I do have significant experience in that area Mr. Miller, if you must know, to include participation in many missions along with folks like your close relative over the course of 25 years.

          • Matt Miller

            Thank you for your service. Most folks don’t have that depth of experience to draw from. From your experience, do you really think the average homeowner has the training and wherewithal to effectively deploy a weapon with a high-capacity magazine in a home defense situation? And what of my second, and more important point? If we don’t make rational progress on this issue soon, demographic and societal change will make it for us. Do you think the outcome then will be favorable to your position? Or wouldn’t you rather help shape the issue now?

  • David Van Deusen

    Some people will argue that Vermont is the “most liberal state” and therefore we need to fall in line (with the National Democratic Party) and take new gun control measures. Well I would disagree with that assertion, and from my perspective “Liberalism” has not been a particularly interesting or cutting edge ideological framework for 100+ years. And, with all due respect, such a pro-gun control position is a solution desperately seeking a problem.

    If by most “liberal” people mean clear consensus support (outside the city of Burlington) for gun control, regressive taxes on goods and services, helmet laws, leash laws, noise ordinances, zoning laws, pacifism, ATV restrictions, snow machine restrictions, no-cut forestry policies, outlawing of public smoking (even outside), further centralization of State control in Montpelier, etc., then I would flatly state that Vermont is not even close to the most liberal state in the nation (and thank god it is not!).

    If one instead intends to indicate that we appear to have majority support for universal healthcare, increasing the taxes on the rich (and reducing them on working people), increased reliance on a progressive income tax, increasing the rights of unions to organize, moving towards in-state self-sufficiency via renewable energy production & public ownership of dams, democratic expression through local control & Town Meeting, a guaranteed livable wage, universal access to higher education & technical training, then I would agree, but also assert that this is not liberal or liberalism. These values are progressive in nature; social-democratic on one level, libertarian-socialist on another. And perhaps we can in fact agree that this (in the United States) is rather remarkable and in fact very good.

    We came to this, in part, because as Vermonters we were not so foolish as to wrap these progressive ideas up in a box complete the laundry list of platform items from the National Democratic Party. Gun control, uber centralization, one size-fits-all zoning of small land holdings, and all the plethora of other issues that do in fact create real wedge issues that alienate the working class (as has happened in most of the rest of the country) have never been part-and-parcel of the deal (so to speak). Thus we have been able to move a progressive agenda forward one step at a time, as a people.

    So, as we look at the South (all of the South), and as we look at the Midwest, and much of the West, do we truly believe it smart or rational to emulate the same failures and Democratic Party ideological packages we have seen there turn a majority of poor and working class people into Republican voters? To do so here, by our own hand, would be pathologically insane.

    I know… “But someone, one day, could use a gun to kill many people right here in Vermont…” Sure. Given a long enough timeline, probabilities would appear in increase (The Gambler’s Fallacy aside)… And you know what, we could have a destructive earth quake too (perhaps we should adopt the same building codes they have in Japan). We could also have a fascist take control of the White House (and then those guns we have now may not seem like such a bad thing). All sorts of things could happen over the next 100 or 1000 years. But the fact remains that over the last 56 years (since 1960) we have had less total murders, 508 [not differentiating those committed with guns, or knives, rocks, sticks, etc.] then the State of Michigan had in 2010 alone (558). And yet some folks appear to be clambering to abolish the Vermont Constitutional Right to bear arms because, why? Because at some point in some future we may become like another place? Or more likely because gun control suits the world view and broad liberal-Democratic ideology which a few have an urge to mimic here in the Green Mountains (even if our experienced and historic reality does not reflect other regions in the US). Crazy. Almost religious in tone.

    You know, it would be more efficient and to the point if Democratic gun control advocates cut to the chase and voted Republican or Libertarian in the next election. After all, pushing a gun control agenda in Vermont is not gonna reduce of gun murder rate (2010) down to zero (from 2), but it will help elect Republicans and give an issue for the Right to build on. So go on. Have fun with that. But I (as a member of the Progressive Party) would not expect too many blue collar workers, union members, etc., to be so fast jumping down that rabbit hole.

  • Rich Lachapelle

    A few points to consider:
    -an elderly gentleman in St. Albans would certainly have liked to have access to an “equalizer” last week when 2 thugs and their girlfriend invaded his apartment and beat the snot out of him. The best weapon would have been either a handgun or shotgun that were SEMIAUTOMATIC and capable of firing multiple rounds in short succession.
    -The only difference between what the uninformed anti-gun liberals refer to as an “assault weapon” is cosmetic. It is like the difference between a Corvette and station wagon, which are equally capable of going 70 mph.
    -Bernie Sanders and many other liberal politicians have responded by saying this was the act of a single person and we should not be blaming an entire religion, and most would agree. However those same liberals will also imply that all gun owners are to blame for this act of a single person.
    -Universal background checks can only be implemented along with a gun registration system and this is the dirty little secret that folks like Sue Minter will not mention.

    Message to Sue and the rest of the democrats running for office in Vermont: please heartily embrace your proposals for serious gun restrictions on the law abiding. The Republicans will thank you for it.

  • Tiki Archambeau

    “…A key reason the Orlando shooting was so deadly is because Florida bans weapons in bars.”

    Complete BS. There is no data to back up the Dirty Harry theory. Only rhetoric dreamed up in a testosterone-filled room.

    Speaking of data the pro-death crowd conveniently ignores, the U.S. as off-the-charts when it comes to gun deaths. Meaning the U.S. has not learned a single lesson from other countries on how to manage guns. Currently, gun deaths are surpassing vehicular deaths in many states.

    If you’re going to wrap yourself with the Second Amendment, you can’t choose to ignore the first four words: “A WELL_REGULATED militia….”

    • David Van Deusen

      Actually Tiki, the Vermont Constitution is stronger on this issue, and does not contain those words. And since we are speaking about Vermont, the data actually indicates that we have a lower murder rate (with or without use of guns) then most of the world, and certainly lower then every other state in the US. So maybe the other states can learn something from us (about what it means to build a community & teach good gun ethics over generations). No rational argument can be built (using real data concerning Vermont) to support the importing of gun control to the Green Mountains. Gun control is akin to a religious belief for a few Vermonters, and it is a religion I for one do not subscribe to.

    • Will Waizenegger

      Please note that in the lingo of the day, “A Well Regulated Militia…” meant the same as “a WELL EQUIPPED population with equipment in good working order.” The people of the day did have some of the best equipment (pretty much the M-4 or other military grade firearm of its day…better than an average civilian-grade AR-15). Yes, in some cases even cannon.

      Please don’t try to rewrite the Constitution to fit your version of reality.

      By the way, as for the “U.S as off-the-charts…” thing: try living in Mexico whose people live under a complete gun ban, yet massacres like the one in Florida are a common every day thing. So common they don’t even make the news here. The typical citizen in Mexico, or other parts of South and Central America, is caught between the cartels and a corrupt police force and no effective legal way to defend themselves. Or France and other parts of Europe with heavy-duty draconian gun control, where the Islamic problem is way off the charts. An Islamic problem we’re only just starting to experience here.

    • Rich Lachapelle

      Tiki, heroin/opioid overdoses have also taken over vehicular deaths in many states including Vermont. Our laws provide for a TOTAL PROHIBITION on the possession, use and sale of heroin and it does not keep it from being easily and cheaply available. Prohibition does not work to prevent the availability of a commodity and there are already probably a half billion guns already in private ownership in the US. Keep dreaming about your gun-free utopia. I think that most Americans are beginning to see that the recent rise in violent crime (mostly associated with the illicit drug trade) and the fact that we are in world war III with radical moslems who live in our midst as a justification for a well-armed populace. Please feel free to encourage all your demo-prog friends who are running for office to proudly embrace their gun restriction philosophies. It will be the best thing that could happen to make the Republican Party relevant in Vermont once again.

    • Michael Smith

      Tiki,
      ” you can’t choose to ignore the first four words: “A WELL_REGULATED militia….””

      Many words have definitions that change through the years, such as “cool”. Is cool in reference to temperature, state of being, or a measure of acceptance?

      In this case, according to the Oxford English Dictionary in the 1700’s the term “well-regulated” meant “something is in proper working order.”

    • Robert Joseph

      I assume you left out the rest intentionally. …but this has been covered-

      https://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt2_user.html

  • Ed Cutler

    First off we at the Gun Owners of Vermont deeply regret the slaughter of the good people from Orlando by that animal. Our hearts go out to the victims and family’s on that tragic day

    OK lets look at what we know as of now.

    1- He was a certified security officer with a 3rd degree firearms license
    no matter how restrictive the laws he would have been armed.

    2- In order to hold that kind of job he had to go through major checks far surpassing a background check. He went thru Psychiatric evaluations, major checks of his past, had no criminal record was being checked out by the F.B.I.and a host of other intrusions of his life. In short he would have and did pass the Brady check. In short no law that is being proposed would have stopped this animal from having those firearms.

    3-Florida allows people to carry concealed with a permit and has a stand your ground law. This allows people to defend themselves without repercussions.

    4-The club itself had a guard at the door wanding people with a metal
    detector so no one could come in with a firearm or other weapon. I am
    pretty sure they also had bouncers in the building.

    5-It took 3 or more hours to enter the club because of the hostage situation.

    6- So where was the failure. It failed because Florida also has a law the forbids people from having firearms in places that serve liqueur AKA a gun free zone. It left those poor people helpless to the whims of a mad man.

    7-How do we prevent things like this from happening. This is not rocket science and some will not agree with this but we need to get rid of gun free zones. If 1 or more people would have had a firearm they could have prevented most if not all of this tragedy.

    8-The man knew this was a gun free zone and if it was not he might not have done this terrible deed. When people suspect that their might be armed persons they tend to take their violence elsewhere.

    Ed Cutler

    President
    Gun Owners of Vermont

    • Matt Miller

      So, for the sake of the argument, let’s say we grant all of your arguments here. If high-capacity magazines were not available at the gun store where he went and legally purchased the weapons he used, could that have affected the outcome? It was a gun-free zone, yes, but there was an armed off-duty officer there who was not able to stop him. If the attacker only had a five-round clip, don’t you think the opportunity to stop him may have been greater than it was?

      No matter how much gun-control advocates wish it weren’t so, the right to bear arms is not like owning and driving a car, tobacco, etc. It is a specific right enshrined in the Constitution and should be respected as such. But no right is without limits, even our most fundamental ones. This is true of the 1st Amendment, and it is true of the 2nd. The question is not whether we should ban guns, that question is answered by the 2nd Amendment. The question is what limit is there to the right where it infringes on public safety? Is the Sig MCX to blame? No. But did the fact that the magazine holds 30 rounds before requiring reload possibly contribute to the scale of this and other tragedies? Probably. There is room for reasoned debate and thoughtful policy here, but the extreme views on either side aren’t helpful. Banning guns is as absurd as no limits at all. Let’s find a reasonable middle ground that mitigates the damage that can occur. Consider that demographics are not in favor of gun rights. Fewer households in America own guns now than ever before in our history. At some point, that trend will reach a point where enough people don’t care so much about guns that policies will be easy to change. If gun rights advocates don’t start responding with reasoned compromise proposals first, what makes us think that compromise will be offered then? Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, here.

      • Neil Johnson

        So I carry 4-6 handguns with a 6-10 capacity chamber. The argument has no merit. Can we only have single shot difficult to load guns? Do you think criminals will use a gun like that? Will any criminal organization not use guns? No, they carry high value goods, cash, drugs etc. and need protection. Name any criminal group, in any country that doesn’t use guns, perhaps then we can talk.

        • Matt Miller

          Come now, you can do better than that. You can’t simultaneously justify lax gun laws because we have low crime and then go on and say high capacity magazines are necessary because there are all these criminals running about that have them. Try engaging me on the larger, and more important point, instead. The trend line is decades long and clear as day, fewer and fewer households, as a percentage, have guns than ever before in our history. As fewer people own them, fewer people will care about protecting this right. At some point, there will be enough people not caring that anti-gun interests will have a much easier time passing what they want. Keep up the absolutist approach, and that is far more likely to be a similarly extreme response. Good luck with that. Or, we could take some limited, moderate steps along the way and reduce the urgency and importance of this issue, possibly preserving more of this right you cling so firmly to. Your call, really.

          • Neil Johnson

            Dear sir, you are confusing the rights of man to defend with a popularity vote

          • Matt Miller

            Not at all. All of our rights derive from the will of the populace. Just ask any woman in Texas who wants an abortion how that is working out for her.

          • Neil Johnson

            Huge error, rights do not derive from the will of the populace. Natural law, man is consistently wrong and not perfect. We are selfish, we don’t think of other enough. Will of the populace brings you such things as socialism, ruler like the Pharaoh’s. The laws you speak of are from the will of the populace…..Texas Populace.

          • Matt Miller

            The error lies in believing that a society will always respect these rights that you believe to be derived from nature. Whether or not you believe some rights derive from “natural law”, the expression of rights only comes through the will and permission of the society in which we live. There are plenty of places in the world where these “natural law” rights will not be respected, no matter how much we protest. So we can help shape the expression of our rights, or we can shout from the rooftops while they disappear. I opt to be part of the process, and not to get railroaded by history.

          • Neil Johnson

            Education is key. People need to study the difference. We need to know ethics. We need to know the difference between propaganda, news, and the truth. We are sadly lacking in this education

    • Matt Miller

      I’ll just leave this right here….

      https://youtu.be/0rR9IaXH1M0

  • Will Waizenegger

    Unbelievable that the first immediate default knee-jerk reaction by naive people like Sue Minter, along with Peter Galbraith and others, is to fault a dumb inanimate object and the law abiding masses. Is that the best she has to offer?

    Never mind that the rest of Minter’s policies (please read her website) are a collection of sure-fire ways to bankrupt the state (for instance, this: http://vtdigger.org/2016/06/07/minter-plans-to-offer-free-tuition-to-state-colleges/ ). But, whether you are a gun-rights oriented person or one who favors gun control, you need to take note of one thing in regards to Minter: the fact she so quickly defaulted to a knee jerk reaction such as this, without knowing any facts, is an indication she does not have the skills to run this state.

    It’s a familiar trend among ignorant, yet self-serving, politicians: if you don’t know what the answer is regarding violence, then simply lash out at the gun owner. Forget trying to find an actual solution. Simply blame the evil scary black rifle.

    Well, guess what: everything…yes, literally EVERYTHING in the room you’re sitting in can be weaponized by a creative warped mind.

    Everything.

    I dare you to think of one single thing that cannot be used as a deadly weapon. Go ahead…I double-dog dare you.

    That gun in the safe? Yes, of course. That’s an easy one.

    The knives, tools or chemicals in the house? Again, too easy.

    The furniture? Toys in the kid’s room? Bedding? Pillows? Food? Liquids? The air?

    EVERYTHING can be turned into a deadly weapon by someone hell-bent on killing. There is not one thing that cannot be weaponized. Even if we successfully ban everything ever invented and stop the manufacture of anything else, society will still have sticks, stones and fists. You know…man’s first weapons.

    How about this one: the digital device and internet connection you are using to read this. Believe it or not, in the wrong hands, the tool right in front of you is probably the most dangerous thing ever unleashed at the world. With that digital device and internet access, you can have everything in your bank account drained. Any business, big or small, can be brought down (from anywhere in the world). With that device in front of you a warped individual can destroy the power grid, resulting in the death of millions of people. The danger is so great, the U.S. government spends billions of dollars a year protecting us from cyber-threats.

    All through that little device by just the right warped mind.

    But can you imagine what would happen to any politician for simply suggesting that digital devices and/or internet access should be banned, or at least regulated the way Minter (or Galbraith) is suggesting gun ownership should be?

    Yes, that politician’s career would be over. Done. And that is the only reason such a thing is never suggested.

    We need a rational leader in this state who actually knows what to do. Minter is not it. We have other choices.

    • Walter Carpenter

      ” I dare you to think of one single thing that cannot be used as a deadly weapon.”

      But how many of these can mow down 50 people in a minute or two? How many of these can take out 26 kids and teachers at a school in a single burst or two? How many of these can murder a social worker from across a parking lot and three other women? As a survivor of a shooting I think that Minter is more rational than you think and is right on with this one.

      • Linda Wysocki

        Walter, you do not understand the meaning of “semi-automatic”. It means that for every pull of the trigger a single bullet is fired. It is not capable of “a single burst or two”…that is a fully automatic weapon. In both Sandy Hook and Orlando, the murderer not only a semi-automatic rifle but also a handgun, so multiple weapons were involved.

      • Rich Lachapelle

        Examples of everyday items that can be used as weapons and are capable of mowing down 50 people in a minute or two:
        -a hijacked airliner flown into a building
        -a bomb made from a pressure cooker and fireworks
        -a motor vehicle

        All of these methods have been used for mass murder by radical moslems.

  • sandra bettis

    Thank you, Sue Minter! It’s about time someone in politics had the guts to tell the truth about the gun lobby!

    • I am the “gun lobby”. I’m a member of the NRA and a local gun rights organization. I would be very careful talking about the “gun lobby”. You will be alienating your neighbors and friends.

      • sandra bettis

        If they are part of the gun lobby, they are not my friends. Anyone who supports the insane choice to vote against background cks and approves of the ‘right’ to own an assault weapon is no friend of mine.

  • timothy price

    And so it goes, the Orlando False-flag beings its planned course of effect in the gun control campaign. Seems as though people would stop swallowing these horrific murders by our own government agencies in order to take over the USA as a sovereign nation, and absorb it into the NWO dictatorship. Mass murder was used in the Oklahoma City bombing, in 9/11, and in Sandy Hook, and all the other “mass murders”. The internet is just beginning put the pieces together. Check out the many other blogs too.
    Orlando Nightclub Shooting Another False Flag?
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/06/12/orlando/

  • fred moss

    Gun Control???? How is that working out in say.. Chicago Sue? They have 20 to 30 murders every weekend. I guess those lives don’t matter. How about Paris, the most strict gun laws on the planet. How did that work out.

    Maybe if we had strict gun laws in 1941, we could have missed Pearl Harbor.

    Any discussion about gun control is a distraction. You lost my vote!!!!!

  • Sue Minter sure knows how to signal she wants to pick a loosing campaign issue! If this is going to be a Vermont Democrats campaign platform issue then maybe we need to change who sets the party platform. That or start welcoming more Democrats into other parties like the GOP and Libertarian parties.

    • Rich Lachapelle

      Hopefully Sue will join other flatlander liberals who have naively embraced a gun-ban philosophy in Vermont such as Linda Waite-Simpson and Althea Kroger in the ashbin of history.

      • Frank Beardsley

        I believe that’s a given, now that she’s hitched her horse to this broken wagon. They keep trying though, and keep getting sent out to pasture. She’d have better luck west and south of Vermont.

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