by Eric Davis, Gun Owners of Vermont
A new version of the S30, Chittenden Sen. Phil Baruth’s proposed ban on carrying firearms in many public places, strikes all the previous wording and establishes a single new criminal punishment for carrying a gun inside a hospital. It also includes a study to determine if the policy prohibiting firearms at the Statehouse is sufficient or if it needs to be “strengthened” through legislation.
The committee reviewed the changes at a meeting on Friday Feb 26. No further action has been scheduled on the bill yet. But the committee agenda is wide open for the second half of the week. It wouldn’t be surprising if this bill saw some more discussion and a possible vote soon.
Over in the House, the Judiciary Committee led by Maxine Grad (Moretown) and Martin LaLonde (Burlington) blazes forward with H133, their latest crusade to take guns without due process, despite objections from interested parties. As always, our presence in that committee seems as it’s been largely for show. GoVT has testified a few times on this bill and our testimony can be viewed here, here, and here.
To give you the Cliff notes: the bill says that the court can order a person subject to a temporary Relief From Abuse order (or RFA) to relinquish their firearms and they may do so “ex-parte,” meaning without notice to the defendant. There are a lot of moving parts to this one so we encourage folks to read the linked testimony for more details. Testimony from Vermont Traditions Coalition and Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs can also be viewed on the committee page by searching the committee documents by the bill number H.133. This bill is scheduled for committee discussion and a possible vote first thing when they return on Tuesday.
Should either the House or Senate bills pass out of committee, they then head to the floor of their respective chamber for consideration. The Joint Rules Committee set the date for crossover this year for this Friday, March 12. Bills must be voted out of their committee of origin by crossover to be considered by the other chamber this session.
We are encouraging everyone to contact the members of these committees as well as your personal Representatives and Senators who may not be in these committees and ask them politely to take no action this session on firearms but keep their promise to focus their efforts on recovery from the crazy year we just had (and are still having.) Remind them that we are currently not being allowed the access to our government that is customary in Vermont and therefore, contentious issues should be tabled for further discussion when we can return to the Statehouse.
If you need help finding your legislators, please comment, message, or email firstname.lastname@example.org We are happy to help put you in contact with your elected officials anytime.
Lastly, I’ll close as I always do by reminding everyone that you can help out tremendously by becoming an official member of GoVT here: https://gunownersofvermont.org/about-us/join-us/ We are an all-volunteer, grassroots organization and every little bit helps.