by Eric Davis
The Senate Judiciary Committee will be taking more testimony on H.230 this week. If you’re not familiar, H.230 is a bill that originated in the House Committee on Healthcare as a measure to reduce suicides in Vermont. The only problem is that it has almost nothing to do with reducing suicides and everything to do with further restricting the rights of law-abiding Vermonters to obtain and keep a firearm for personal protection.
First, the good news: After hearing extensive testimony from Gun Owners of Vermont and the Vermont Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs, the committee has signaled a willingness to work on some of the blatantly unconstitutional areas of this bill as it was passed by the House.
We are hopeful that this week we will see the mandatory lockup requirements dropped in favor of softer language that addresses negligence as a broad issue – i.e., you won’t be forced to lock up your guns in your own home but could still be held liable in the event of an incident resulting from negligence. We obviously don’t know what this wording will look like just yet, but we will keep everyone updated as more info becomes available.
The bad news is that this would still leave intact the provision for a 72-hour waiting period on all firearms transfers. Not only would this effectively kill off the gun shows in Vermont but could have deadly consequences for someone who needs to immediately obtain a firearm for personal protection. Constitutional rights are not and should not be subject to waiting periods regardless of what effects it might have on the rate of suicides in Vermont or anywhere else.
We are urging everyone to contact the members of the Senate Judiciary and politely ask them to strip the waiting period section from this bill, as it does nothing but punish good people by setting up roadblocks between them and their constitutional right to obtain a firearm.
The committee member’s emails are:
The author is President of Gun Owners of Vermont