by Chris Bradley
If you are not aware of S.30, it is a bill that relates to prohibiting the possession of firearms at three types of locations, and as portrayed it garnered a number of Senate co-sponsors.
In describing the need for this bill, it has been repeatedly stated that there is no law on the books today that would prevent someone from bringing a firearm into one of these prohibited locations, and further, that there was no law that would force them to be removed. Quoting the lead sponsor: “As it stands now, if someone carries a gun into a hospital, or if they carry a gun into a child care center and someone sees the gun and asks them to leave, they have no recourse, a police officer can’t get rid of that gun, and the person can stand on their rights to have the gun in the environment. “
In point of fact, there is just such a law in statute today that handles the exact situation the sponsor describes, and it’s use is common. It’s in use at hospitals, Vermont’s government buildings, as well as numerous other locations across Vermont, and it comes into play with the signs you see at the entrances to these locations that say something similar to “Firearms / Weapons Prohibited”. The statute behind those signs is 13 VSA 3705 – Unlawful Trespass.
If someone were to go past such a sign into any one of those places carrying a firearm and they are seen doing that, then under current law (13 VSA 3705) that situation can be effectively dealt with. Under 3705: Police have a tool they can use to immediately correct the problem of a person carrying a firearm into a prohibited place; it allows them to remove that person; it allows them to cite or arrest and at that point they can confiscate weapons. That’s current law today.
To quote the lead sponsor one more time: “… if in fact there are other laws that do what S.30 purports to do, then I would say it is a strong argument for not passing it.”
I submit that 13 VSA 3705 does today what S.30 purports to do, making S.30 unnecessary.
Executive Director & President – Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs