Vermont’s historically free gun laws are about to get a good-ol’-fashioned anti-gun makeover. In the wake of the Parkland massacre, Vermont’s General Assembly has proposed a variety of measures aimed at curtailing the ownership of “large capacity” magazines, raising the legal age to purchase a firearm, requiring background checks for private gun sales, banning bump stocks, and allowing law enforcement to more easily confiscate firearms.
Vermont Governor Phil Scott has vowed to sign all three pieces of legislation if passed by the Assembly.
“As Governor, I have a moral and legal obligation and responsibility to provide for the safety of our citizens,” he said in a statement. “If we are at a point when our kids are afraid to go to school and parents are afraid to put their kids on a bus, who are we?”
The House and the Senate have already passed S.55, which will do the following:
- Raise the legal age to purchase a firearm to 21 for most residents;
- Ban the possession of magazines with capacities greater than 10 rounds for long guns and 15 for handguns (does not apply to magazines possessed before the legislation passed);
- Require a background check before transferring a firearm to a non-immediate family member;
- Ban bump stocks.
Vermont gun owners didn’t go down quietly. Gun rights activists organized a rally at the state capitol, where they handed out 1,200 free 30-round PMAGs.
“I’m here to support our 2nd Amendment rights,” Vermont resident Mike Gallo told the Burlington Free Press. “If we don’t protect them, we won’t have them when we need them.”
Sen. Joe Benning, who voted against S.55, told the several thousand protesters gathered on the Capitol steps that both sides of the gun control debate want safer communities and schools.
Still, “you guys are as passionate as the other side was,” Benning said. “I know you are going to find this difficult to believe, but some of those folks on the other side are really scared of you.”
H.422 would require law enforcement officers to confiscate a firearm from a person who is arrested or cited for domestic assault if the weapon is (1) in the immediate possession or control of the person being arrested or cited; (2) in plain view of the officer; or (3) discovered during a consensual search.
S.221 is likewise dedicated to giving law enforcement a clearer path to gun confiscation. This bill, like many proposed in states across the country, establishes “extreme risk protection orders,” which allow law enforcement to seize guns from individuals they believe pose a danger to themselves or others. The law requires police to provide “clear and convincing evidence” to the Family Division of the Superior Court.
Vermont isn’t alone in its push for stricter gun restrictions. State legislatures from coast to coast are considering similar proposals. Heck, we saw what just happened down in Florida, the Gunshine State. Contact your state’s pro-gun organization or check out this page from the NRA-ILA to see if your state is about to jump on the anti-gun crazy train.