Graphic description by House member of son’s suicide sets tone for gun control vote

By Guy Page

Maternal grief and a “the courts will decide” approach to potential U.S. Supreme Court violations set the tone for yesterday’s House vote approving a gun control bill.

Mandated gun storage and a 72-hour-waiting period after passing a federal background check will help reduce Vermont’s growing suicide numbers, Rep. Allysa Black (D-Westford) claimed yesterday minutes before the House gave initial approval to its 2023 gun control bill. 

Rep. Allysa Black

Black made an emotionally-charged, first-person appeal to her House colleagues during a lengthy floor speech yesterday afternoon in support of H230, the suicide prevention/gun control bill. Following testimony, the House voted by a 2-1 margin to approve the bill.

Black described how she believes her adult son took his own life in 2018. Listen here on the House YouTube video:

“I see the scene that is played out in my head thousands of times. I see a 23 year old young man who had his whole life ahead of him. I can see him closing his door and locking it. And laying his head down on his pillow on his left side. I watch him pulling his Vermont Flannel stadium blanket up over his head. I like to think maybe he did that because he didn’t want his mom to have to clean his brain matter off his walls.

“I watch his hands, his long thin fingers, the first thing I noticed about him when they laid him on my breast 23 years before. And I wonder if his hands were shaking, or whether he was calm and steady. I can see him taking that brand new 9mm Sig Sauer that he had bought three hours before. I can see him put it right here [pointing her finger at her head], right behind his right ear, and pull that trigger. He died instantly. Thank God for that. 

“Every single number on that chart has a story. They were loved. And the ones who were left behind will never be the same again……We cannot make that chart disappear….we cannot completely eliminate sucide. But we can do better than what we’ve done.

“People asked themslves over and over, ‘why, why, why.’ Often they’ll never get an answer to the why. But they do know how. And that’s what H230 does. These are very small measures we can take to mitigate the how and save lives.”

After Black concluded, Rep. Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington), House Judiciary Committee chair, rose to report that his committee took testimony both pro and con on the bill’s constitutionality. “Ultimately, courts will have the final say on whether the provisions are constititional. ….At this time, it is not clear on how courts binding on Vermont will rule, and it may not be clear for a while,” lawyers for the House testified, LaLonde said. 

At issue during much of the floor discussion was a mandated gun storage/trigger lock provision that appears to contradict the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court Heller ruling.  

LaLonde then repeated his claim about strong testimony and the courts having the final say. He later quoted other parts of Heller appearing to allow some gun storage. 

After stating that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided the Constitution’s Second Amendment prevents a mandate on trigger locks, Rep. Pat Brennan urged that section be struck from the bill. 

“I take that oath in January…to uphold the Constitution. This is putting us in a very tough position to vote against the U.S. Constitution.” Brennan asked the body to read the Heller decision. “It’s never been challenged in any state of the union for 14 years.”

“I believe that these provisions are constitutional,” LaLonde repeated. “In the end, the courts will have the final say.” He then said the D.C. law struck down by Heller is different than H230. 

When interrogated by Rep. Jarrod Sammis (R-Castleton) if he has read Section 3 in Heller banning lock mandates, LaLonde answered: “I am aware of that. But there is always a danger in just reading one small part of a case,” LaLonde said. 

One House member objected to the objections based on possible Supreme Court rulings. “Trying to interpret what the courts would or wouldn’t do is inappropriate,” Rep. John Bartholomew (D-Hartland) said. House Speaker Jill Krowinski upheld his objection.

In further floor discussion, Rep. Anne Donahue – who said attempted suicide by car accident in the 1990’s – said small states show a far smaller connection between suicide and gun access than in larger states. She also pointed to states with strong mental health services seeing less suicide.

She isn’t a gun owner. “Why would I not support gun restrictions?,” Donahue asked rhetorically. “I don’t support bills based on false promises, where there is a disconnect with the problem and what is promised as a solution.”

I go back to my fundamental strongest values,” Donahue concluded. “Regardless of the subject, upholding the Constitution is one of my critical values. This is not a Constitutional bill, and I can’t support that, even if it was something that could make a difference.”

Categories: Legislation

30 replies »

  1. Finally, we at least have one example of a suicide by newly purchased gun. One. Would he have perhaps simply waited three days and done the same? Or simply turned on the car and left the garage door shut? We’ll never have that answer. I’d be more concerned with the question of why, rather than falsely blaming the answer of how.

    But the purely emotional appeal, as is the new norm for the Vermont State House, doesn’t care about answers, or actually solving difficult problems. It just feels good. It will also potentially disarm someone who has a real need for immediate protection, and for that reason, is unconstitutional, especially by Vermont’s Constitution, guaranteeing specifically the right to bear arms for self defense.

  2. All due respect and sympathy but one mother’s grief is not an excuse to infringe upon the sacred rights of an entire state of law-abiding citizens, especially given the current levels of violent crime and the diminished police resources. Thank you Anne Donahue for your solid arguments. The lack of deference and even acknowledgement by the supporters to the unconstitutional aspects of this proposal are truly disturbing. To these democrats, their acts of virtue signaling seek to trump the rule of law and they know it. Liberals brains are ruled by emotion and that is the mental disorder that is the real danger to our society. Those who vote for clowns like LaLonde need to do some serious soul searching and read their history on the issue.

  3. My heart goes out to Rep. Black. No one should have to be go through what she, and her family have been through. The fact is though that people have been deciding when they think their own lives should end, be it because of physical, or mental issues for a long time, and truth be known, that would continue even in a world without firearms. So what’s next ? Intentional overdoses on drugs ? I don’t think so, at least not in a state that has become a destination for people that want to end their own lives by having a doctor plug them into life ending cocktails. It all sounds so duplicitous .

  4. ms.rep, black’s experience with suicide is tragic, as are all suicides to the friends and family of those that choose this path. Speaking from experience. And yet at no time did I think the gun at fault, nor that the firearm was anymore than a tool to the suicidal person. The inabilities of the medical profession, and state laws in place at the time certainly contributed to the outcome. Neither of those factors has changed, in 30 years. Any method would have been used, some even tried. But ms. rep. black’s story is repeated too often- and she may find the same obstacles contributed to the outcome that I saw. lalonde’s use of black’s testimony was astute and staged for his desired outcome.
    mr. lalonde’s obsession with eliminating firearms has caused him to be incapable of performing his duties of office. The US Constitution, Article 2 of The Bill of Rights is clear, as is Article 16 of The Vermont Constitution. His desire to formulate laws that in his words: “Ultimately, courts will have the final say on whether the provisions are constititional. ….At this time, it is not clear on how courts binding on Vermont will rule, and it may not be clear for a while,”
    mr. lalonde has apparently rejected the oath or affirmation he took just 11 weeks ago:
    Vermont Constitution Chapter II, Article 16
    You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this Assembly, you will not propose, or assent to, any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to you injurious to the people, nor do nor consent to any act or thing whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State; but will, in all things, conduct yourself as a faithful, honest Representative and guardian of the people, according to the best of your judgment and ability. (In case of an oath)  So help you God. (Or in case of an affirmation) Under the pains and penalties of perjury.
    Rep. Brennan is correct in his assessment of H.230 as unconstitutional, as is Rep. Donohue. There seemingly is a super-majority of legislators that deem the Vermont Constitution as a nuisance to be ignored when inconvenient to their agenda.
    Clearly, this legislative session has gone off the rails in an orgy of hubristic, anomic attempts to railroad Vermont’s citizens toward a totalitarian state.

    • Thanks for reinforcing the best definition of a progressive…someone who sees the Constitution as an impediment to social justice, or as you said, a nuisance.

  5. lalondumb does not care about the constitution nor does he care about suicides, it’s all about taking away our guns, bottom line!

  6. Maybe if she was a better mother he would t have. So let me get this straight. Because her son she failed kills himself with a gun it’s my problem?
    Sorry you pass all the laws you want you won’t stop it period. Cause he would of done it some other way. I mean how many people in Vt OD and we can’t stop that. Oh that’s right cause they are lining their pockets with that money.
    The courts should already be notified and papers ready to deliver the very second this crap passes …

    • That is about the most repulsive and ignorant post you could have made. I hope one day you don’t wake and find out how wrong you were when someone dear to you, suffering from mental illness, takes their life; will you have failed them? Not only do you owe Representative Black an apology you should really seek help.

  7. And all of this is happening just as the super-majority in the Vermont Legislature is intent on allowing non-residents to obtain a lethal prescription to end their lives…….no wonder young people are confused…..what a double message….

  8. I dunno if I’d chance having suicidal ppl driving into other vehicles or walking out in front of trucks instead. That’s what they do when they’re desperate.

    • …then they sometimes take others with them. With a gun, it can be done in solitary.
      Either way, it will negatively affect loved-ones, but at least not harming some innocent, unrelated person(s). Even stepping in front of a moving train creates a big public mess and can traumatize the train operators. Some thoughtless creep sought to take his own life a few years back and killed a carload of teens on I-89. In any event, this legislation will NOT prevent suicide, by gun or any other method.

  9. Crisis actress anyone? The idea that our 2nd amendment right is being questioned based on someone else’s mental health problem(s) = weaponized empathy.

  10. So everyone in the state should have to be made to wait because your son was weak and you didn’t want to address it?

  11. Losing a child by any means is tragic. I am acutely aware as I lost a son at age 33 by a different method, nonetheless tragic.
    In the case of the Black’s, they were aware that their son was at risk and that is why their firearms were locked up so that their son did not have access. If the Black’s had contacted authorities to have that information entered into the NICS he never would have been able to purchase a firearm.
    Instead of accepting some responsibility, the Black’s were paraded around the Legislature blaming gun manufactures, NRA, guns, and too short waiting periods.
    An emotional plea does not justify trampling on the rights of law abiding citizens. There will always be tragic stories of suicide. I would bet many of the fentanyl overdoses are suicide but who would ever know unless a note was left. If one desires to end their life that would seem to be the painless approach.

  12. Why do they pass legislation that has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court?

    • Passing meritorious legislation is a sideline with demoprogs. Their primary purpose is virtue signaling so they and their supporters and constituents can feel good about themselves and look forward to basking in the glory of a CNN or MSNBC interview on the state house steps. They love to sit in their committee room proposing adding more products to the container deposit law while they sip coffee in a single-use, disposable cup,with the insulating sleeve and plastic lid. A majority of Vermonters vote for these hypocrites.

  13. I agree with the above comments that her loss is incalculable. However, that does not solve the.problem. We’ve already outlawed drugs and we’ve seen how well that has worked.

  14. I’m sorry for this women, and her family, but in a state where the state can kill you, by law, it make no sense that one young person kills themselves, then the lawmaker goes against the rights of all. That is selfishness, that borderline’s on criminal,in my opinion, and is about as un-American as one can be, as I see it, and any other lawmaker that follows that line of unreason, should be ousted from office, at the polling booth, next election. May the kid RIP and the family find solace, in other manners, than infringing on my rights, as a Vermonter, and an American!

  15. Imagine a society where the vast majority are controlled by the bad decisions of the vast minority. Vermont is such a society.

  16. Horrible story that has very little to do with the hardware and everything to do with the individual

    • Disparaging rep. black lends support to those promoting this bill. She had a son commit suicide, a terrible and tragic thing. No doubt she relives this tragedy often. Leave her be.The cause was not the firearm and probably a waiting period would not have helped. From a similar situation I experienced, no waiting period would have affected the outcome. As is true today, Vermont’s mental health system was a large contributor to the outcome. Little has changed in 30+ years. The legislature continues talking without real action on mental health matters.
      The issue at hand is the leftist agenda to control and restrict firearms, as obviously the legislature has little interest in actually changing the status quo of mental health treatment.
      Your indignation might be better directed at rep.lalonde, whom directed the theatrics.

  17. Emotional reasoning is not a quality when writing legislation. Unfortunately it has become the new unthinking orthodoxy to worship emotional reasoning and virtue signaling; and we seem to elect representatives who excel in this folly. Or, perhaps the truth is they are selected for us.

  18. “He died instantly. Thank God for that.”
    So, you set out to take that mercy away from others? What a horrible person.

    I can’t believe people are so demoralized that the same people who campaign to protect your “right to die” can come make this appeal in the legislature without being thrown out the window.

  19. My son died of Fentanyl poisoning as have many others. What are the legislators doing about it? NOTHING. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/grim-tally-of-fatal-overdoses-continues-to-climb-in-vermont/Content?oid=37846447 Now they want us to believe they are keeping people from committing suicide by purchasing firearms just so they can promote their unconstitutional gun control agenda.

    Kurt Schlichter: “You know if the Chinese could buy guns they wouldn’t be welded in their apartments. Because we can we aren’t”.

  20. Maybe it’s time these politicians were held accountable. The VT Constitution clearly says they can not do what they are doing. Maybe it’s time to start proceedings to eliminate the ones violating our state and federal Constitutions.

    Their oath as House of Representatives.

    16. [Representatives’ oaths]

    The Representatives having met, and chosen their Speaker and Clerk, shall each of them, before they proceed to business, take and subscribe, as well the oath or affirmation of allegiance hereinafter directed (except where they shall produce certificates of their having theretofore taken and subscribed the same) as the following oath or affirmation:

    You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this Assembly, you will not propose, or assent to, any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to you injurious to the people, nor do nor consent to any act or thing whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State; but will, in all things, conduct yourself as a faithful, honest Representative and guardian of the people, according to the best of your judgment and ability. (In case of an oath) So help you God. (Or in case of an affirmation) Under the pains and penalties of perjury.

    • All 150 members of the Vermont General Assembly are up for election every 2 years and the brainwashed masses put the majority of the bad ones back in every time. This time we even put the icing on the marxist cake by giving them a veto-proof majority of demoprogs. We, the masochistic voters of Vermont did this to ourselves.