Once the Senate Judiciary Committee settled on a compromise last week for a gun purchase waiting period bill, S.169, it was widely viewed as a done deal in the full Senate.
Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, the Judiciary Committee chair, engineered the compromise as the swing vote in his committee. He essentially cut the initial bill in half, both in the length and scope of the waiting period.
He proposed a 24-hour wait for handgun purchases only. The bill as introduced by Sen. Phil Baruth, D/P-Chittenden, would have mandated a 48-hour wait for all firearms.
Baruth said during committee debate that he felt the longer waiting period for handguns and rifles would be more effective, but would support the compromise as a step in the right direction. He voted to advance the bill with Sears and Sen. Jeannette White, D-Windham.
When the bill hit the floor, it was critiqued from both sides. Sen. Ruth Hardy, D-Addison, said the “watered-down” bill didn’t go far enough, lambasting both the waiting period compromise and the decision to pull out a safe storage component.
Hardy said that students who rallied for gun restrictions at the Statehouse wanted a more significant change in the law, and she promised to push for additional gun safety laws next year.
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Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex/Orleans, represented the other side of the debate. He proposed a series of amendments to a high-capacity magazine ban passed last year, allowing out-of-state police officers and Vermonters at shooting competitions to possess the devices.
Despite four of his proposals ending up in the bill, Rodgers voted against it because of the waiting period. He said it represented a continued erosion of the constitutional right to self defense, and he questioned the praise of compromise, asking whether the same spirit would be applied to the coming debate over abortion rights.
The bill was approved on a voice vote on final reading, and now heads to the House and, if it passes, to Gov. Phil Scott, who has said he does not see a need for additional gun control this year, after he supported a major package of reforms last year.
In decades past, the chances of a gun control bill making it through the House and avoiding a veto from a Republican governor would have been almost zero. But last year proved that old thinking about the politics of gun control in Vermont no longer applies.
If Scott does veto the bill, it will need two-thirds support in both chambers for an override. The Senate has just enough votes to do it.
Gun Control Vote (S.169) — Yeas = 20, Nays = 10
|Tim Ashe||Yea||Burlington||Chittenden District||Democrat/Progressive|
|Becca Balint||Yea||Brattleboro||Windham District||Democrat|
|Philip Baruth||Yea||Burlington||Chittenden District||Democrat/Progressive|
|Joe Benning||Nay||Lyndon||Caledonia District||Republican|
|Christopher Bray||Yea||New Haven||Addison District||Democrat|
|Randy Brock||Nay||Swanton||Franklin District||Republican|
|Brian Campion||Yea||Bennington||Bennington District||Democrat|
|Alison Clarkson||Yea||Woodstock||Windsor District||Democrat|
|Brian Collamore||Nay||Rutland Town||Rutland District||Republican|
|Ann Cummings||Yea||Montpelier||Washington District||Democrat|
|Ruth Hardy||Yea||Middlebury||Addison District||Democrat|
|Cheryl Hooker||Yea||Rutland City||Rutland District||Democrat/Progressive|
|Debbie Ingram||Yea||Williston||Chittenden District||Democrat|
|Jane Kitchel||Yea||Danville||Caledonia District||Democrat|
|Virginia "Ginny" Lyons||Yea||Williston||Chittenden District||Democrat|
|Mark A. MacDonald||Yea||Williamstown||Orange District||Democrat|
|Dick Mazza||Nay||Colchester||Grand Isle District||Democrat|
|Dick McCormack||Yea||Bethel||Windsor District||Democrat|
|James McNeil||Nay||Rutland Town||Rutland District||Republican|
|Alice W. Nitka||Nay||Ludlow||Windsor District||Democrat|
|Corey Parent||Nay||St. Albans Town||Franklin District||Republican|
|Christopher A. Pearson||Yea||Burlington||Chittenden District||Progressive/Democrat|
|Andrew Perchlik||Yea||Montpelier||Washington District||Democrat/Progressive|
|Anthony Pollina||Yea||Middlesex||Washington District||Progressive/Democrat|
|John Rodgers||Nay||Glover||Essex-Orleans District||Democrat|
|Dick Sears||Yea||Bennington||Bennington District||Democrat|
|Michael Sirotkin||Yea||South Burlington||Chittenden District||Democrat|
|Robert Starr||Nay||Troy||Essex-Orleans District||Democrat|
|Richard Westman||Nay||Cambridge||Lamoille District||Republican|
|Jeanette K. White||Yea||Putney||Windham District||Democrat|
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