Gun bill veto ‘compromise’ lets out-of-staters use high-cap magazines

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Also sets 7-day waiting period. Lets judges seize guns without due process. Guv promises to sign

By Guy Page

A replacement bill for S30, the gun control bill vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott, was approved by Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. 

S4 was introduced last year to create a two-day waiting period for firearms purchases. After S30 was vetoed, senators gutted it and replaced it with an updated version of S30. This is a common tactic of legislative leadership to push through legislation vetoed by a governor. 

The newly amended S4 would:

  • Set a maximum seven-day waiting period for firearm sales. S30 allowed FBI background check delays to hold up a gun sale for up to 30 days. 
  • Ban carrying firearms on hospital property
  • Allows a judge to take away guns from someone who poses “a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public” without first giving that person the right to speak to the judge. 
  • Exempts some out-of-staters from existing state prohibition to “manufacture, possess, transfer, offer for sale, purchase, or receive or import into this State a large capacity ammunition feeding device.” S4 would allow non-Vermonters to bring the high-capacity magazines into Vermont for organized shooting competitions. Previous state law banned high-capacity magazines. This ‘compromise provision’ allows “any large capacity ammunition feeding device transported by a resident of another state into this State for the exclusive purpose of use in an organized shooting competition.”

The S4 amendment passed promptly by a 5-1 vote, but not before Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) outlined what he said could be the dire consequences if this bill passes.  

Benning said he’s okay with the waiting period compromise. As with S30, he opposes the hospital carry ban on the grounds that existing law already covers this situation. 

“I remain somewhat perplexed and uncomfortable” with allowing only out-of-staters to use high-capacity magazines, Benning said. “It makes me very uncomfortable that Vermonters will be treated differently than others from out of state.”

But Benning – a defense lawyer – expressed his greatest concern for a provision allowing courts to remove guns from a household without first hearing from the person from whom the guns are being seized. He regretted the loss of “due process….that is denied to an individual if we pass this language.”

“It is a precedent setting that I fear for the future will be a stepping stone for other cases,” Benning said.

Committee Chair Dick Sears (R-Bennington) shared some concerns about due process. He also said some Vermont judges are already seizing firearms in practice. But the need to reduce Vermont gun deaths caused by suicide and domestic disputes overcame his concerns. 

“Knowing factually that the largest number of deaths coming from firearms is suicide, the second is domestic violence,” Sears said. “I am going to err on the side of caution. Even though I do share some concerns about due process.”

“We know what we know. Just as we followed the science with the Covid situation, I think we need to follow the statistics and the science with the firearms situation,” Sears said.

At his press conference today, Gov. Scott said he is unaware of Benning’s concerns.

Jaye Johnson, legal counsel for Gov. Phil Scott, said Scott would accept S4 as a compromise, because it meets his veto recommendation of a seven-day waiting period. 

UPDATE: The posting of the committee’s decision on drew an immediate response from reader Greg Robbins: “The VT legislature needs to focus more on violent and deadly drug crimes like the NVRH shooting last week instead of passing legislation to make it even more difficult for law abiding legal firearms owners to defend themselves from drug dealers/traffickers, burglaries etc. Too many of these sleazeballs are given a slap on the wrist and released to commit more violent crimes. The judiciary committee needs to do a better job reigning in local DA’s and judges who continually turn the other cheek in favor of the criminals.”

Categories: Gunrights

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17 replies »

  1. The “mental illness” allegation has traditionally been used to seize both weapons and individuals. This makes it easier to seize weapons.
    Keep in mind that Antifa people are armed and capable of illegally distributing weapons. Individuals’ purchases aren’t traceable, only the gun itself.

  2. When there is no problem with law-abiding Vermonters buying, owning and using guns, then why is there any need for “compromise”? Until the EXISTING, tough and comprehensive gun laws are enforced to the letter, there is NO NEED for any further restrictions. These proposed restrictions would only hassle honest people. The NICS background check system works fine most of the time.
    The time limit is NOT a loophole.

  3. The VT legislature needs to focus more on violent and deadly drug crimes like the NVRH shooting last week instead of passing legislation to make it even more difficult for law abiding legal firearms owners to defend themselves from drug dealers/traffikers, burglaries etc. Too many of these sleazeballs are given a slap on the wrist and released to commit more violent crimes. The judiciary committee needs to do a better job reigning in local DA’s and judges who continually turn the other cheek in favor of the criminals.

    • You are absolutely correct. The alleged gunman was from Brooklyn. Now why would a criminal from Brooklyn be in Vermont. Pass these crazy policies like they do in the big cities and you’ll get city folk in your neighborhoods taking advantage. And they won’t be the traditional leaf peepers. There will be career criminals exploting the weak progressive woke policies that have been being pushed in the legislature. As far as the judges and prosecutors their there to push an agenda. The legislatures aren’t creating something new. They are virtue signaling and copying the failed policies of the liberal big cities. I am baffled as to what is happening in Vermont.

      • I asked the StJ Selectboard candidates what they will do in response to the increase in drug crimes. ‘We all need to support our public safety officers’ was the word salad in response to my question. SJPD and VSP need to step up patrols in the high drug traffic neighborhoods to send a message that our communities are being watched and are safe. Parking cruisers downtown or on the interstate is an invitation to these out of state drug traffickers to continue their crime sprees here in town without fear.

  4. So, the governor’s veto was just a show to make republicans believe that he finally has their backs. Since the disastrous gun control bill signing of 2018, the anti-gun tag team of Baruth and LaLond have been looking in every nook and cranny to find another freedom steeling law to cut another notch on their belts. They scored again with this one that eliminates the fictional “Charleston Loophole”. A loophole made up by other dem/progs earlier in a push for more national gun control. This bill also puts the medical providers in the mix to violate the Due Process laws of our country and state constitutions. All those voting for this bill have violated their oaths of office again. Such people who disrespect our constitution should have no place as a lawmaker. The Vermont voters have done this by electing 2/3 of our legislature form carpetbaggers not born or raised here. At some point in the future most everything will be illegal except those things that bring in huge taxes to the state like cigarettes, liquor, drugs, prostitution and abortion the most popular. And they will still make more money after arresting you for over indulgence. What a great place to live, not. Thank you dem/prog voters for trashing this once beautiful state.

  5. Thank you for covering this once again. Thank you to the people who commented too. I think this type of legislation has crossed the line into threatening legislation aimed at law-abiding citizens. We really have to begin to talk about this issue outside of the legislative game of darts. We have to view this from a distance. What is the purpose of it? What is the motive? What is the endgame?

  6. I want to make sure that everyone knows that there were a total of 9 homicides in the state of Vermont for the entire year of 2020 involving firearms. That’s up from 4 in 2016, and we all know that poverty causes more crime (whether from residents or visitors) and that the united states has been quickly eroding the middle class. We can further lower that number by saying how many of these were committed by vermont residents vs visitors who are not typically subject to our laws or at the very least by definition (criminal) wouldn’t obey them anyways.

    But take away everyone’s rights… Perfect. Every year they do this and every year we say things like ‘compromise’.

    Do you think that the legislatures are going to compromise on abortion? Wake up.

  7. How will this hold up in court? Just because a governor signs something shouldn’t mean the Constitution goes to hell?!

    • Well I’d say that the Supreme court didn’t stop the mag ban, and haven’t stopped any other bills that I know of that they have recently approved breaking the constitution and that Scott put in two of them and the third is vacant on his watch. So probably holds up fine…

      They are all on board with the great reset too, they wouldn’t hear mask or vaccine cases heck most of the lawyers straight up wouldn’t take the cases and the courts violated their own rules by closing the courts well past what the state of emergency allowed.

      It’s a big club and you and I aren’t in it.

  8. The first thing that you do when you realize that you are in a minefield is stop! Don’t move! look around for anyone else to let them know of the danger and look for a way out of the situation.
    We are three days from cross-over and we continue to push out and change bad laws – for what? Stop this madness and be aware that if these bills don’t pass, they will be back next biennium.
    Let’s sustain the governor’s veto on S.30, stop S.4, which at best is an appeasement effort by the gun grabbers and anti-hunting and shooting left to signal to the anti-lobbying groups that the P/D legislative caucus is still viable and worthy of more or their money being dumped here so they will keep funding the destruction of our Vermont constitution.
    Our legislature needs to focus on more anti-drug, human trafficking bills and produce bills that force the Attorney general and states attorneys to enforce laws that enhance public safety, which by the way is really what government is supposed to do first.

  9. I have witnessed an occasion that firearms should have been taken. The police were unable or unwilling to do so. Can you imagine the difficulty and time to actually get to a judge to get such an order? This solution is likely not a solution at all.

    • Wait so are you advocating for the police to be able to take the gun on site at their discretion?

  10. Of course, they want your guns and your ammo too, an armed citizenry is a threat to their power.

    “When any nation mistrusts it’s citizens with guns it’s sending a clear message. It no longer trusts it’s citizens because such a government has evil plans”. – George Washington

  11. “…organized shooting competition.” How about they add a provision that Vermonters involved in organized shooting competition or training in another state also be allowed to have 30 round magazines. Vermonters can go to defensive AR-15 training in New Hampshire, but they will need more then a 10 round magazine. And besides, the dopes in Mt. Stupid will never have a way to prove when a magazine was purchased.

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