Gun bill now on House floor new threat to property rights, senator says

Replacement for S30 approved in one day by House Judiciary

By Guy Page

Stifled so far in their effort to override Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of S30, this year’s gun control bill, the Vermont Senate Friday passed a replacement bill that one senator says is even less constitutional. That bill is likely to go a vote before the full House tomorrow.

Sen. Joe Benning

On Friday, the Senate voted 21-9 to override Gov. Scott’s veto of S30, banning possession of firearms on hospital premises and allowing a federal background check ‘waiting period’ of up to 30 days for a firearms transaction. 

However, the House leadership is currently unable to summon the 100 votes necessary to override S30, legislative sources believe. That head-counting reality led Senate leaders to hurriedly pass S4, a “strike-all” amendment in which a gun bill was gutted and replaced with a new version of S30. 

S4 was introduced into House Judiciary on Tuesday and approved the same day by a 6-4-1 vote. It is on today’s “notice calendar,” meaning it could be voted on tomorrow.

The new bill has one glaring problem, Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), a defense lawyer, told his colleagues on the floor after the bill passed 23-7 (Senate Journal page 275): it ignores the Constitutional protections of due process and protection of private property. 

“Even though proponents claim it is “just temporary,” this bill clearly eliminates due process of law by depriving someone of their property on a mere accusation, almost always at a time when the owner of that property has no idea a court proceeding is taking place,” Benning said. “This represents a significant shift in constitutional law and it should not go unnoticed. My greater fear is that this establishes a precedent for the next attempt to erode constitutional rights.”

This isn’t the first time the Legislature has proposed gun legislation that ignores due process. Concerns about gun seizures without the owner’s knowledge or chance to object were ignored by the Democrat-controlled House in a gun bill two years ago, Rep. Pat Brennan said last week. The bill passed the House but didn’t become law. 

Supporters of the aggressive gun seizure language – like Sen. Richard Sears, chair of Senate Judiciary – admitted similar concerns but say it’s necessary to address Vermont’s gun-related suicide and domestic violence problem. Opponents say the Legislature should need policy and funding solutions to those problems, not violations of constitutional property protections. 

Benning’s concern about precedent raises the question: when government can seize guns without the owner’s knowledge or consent, what’s next? 

Categories: Gunrights

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13 replies »

  1. The usual suspects who hate individual freedom and especially firearm rights are trying to get away with anything this session they can because they dont fear any retribution at the polls.
    Collectively speaking, we voted for this crap. Thank you Sen. Benning and Rep. Brennan for voicing your legitimate concerns about the lack of due process in the name of feel-good policy.

  2. It sounds like a challenge should be planned for it in the State Supreme Court as our eggheaded Legislators are poised to infringe further on our Constitutional rights. Of course it’s for our own good, again ….

  3. The Dims want to reduce suicide rates; they will remove our rights to protection “for our safety”.
    I would rather be free. If someone wants to commit suicide, they will find a way.
    That is no reason at all to infringe on the right to own a gun or how to buy it, or when.

    • They want to reduce suicide rates, but they passed into law the right to die law? They just don’t want suicide by gun and in order to do what they want they will take away your constitutional rights. Asking for a friend!

  4. Two stinky rats are rattling the State House and ignoring “We the People.” Remember their names – Senator Joe Benning (running for Lt. Gov.) and Dick Sears – aka roll out our socialist agenda – ignore the people while we do what is great for our pockets,

  5. If I’m remembering correctly they are willing to throw out constitutional protections of private property for the entire state in favor of seizure by the state for a whopping total of 87 lives a year.

    Now that’s not to diminish those poor 79 souls who committed suicide or the 8 people murdered in domestic violence disputes every year, but the gun wasn’t the problem in any of those situations. It was mental health and/or poverty. Both things the government is making worse not better.

    Now what about the 620k+ other people who own property? Is the government going to stop seizure of property with just guns from people who are going to commit suicide or who are going to commit domestic violence? They can’t they don’t know who to take them from because it hasn’t happened yet. So this isn’t targeted that those who are about to commit crimes, because that idea is preposterous.

    Tell me when if ever the government has relinquished a constitutional right that they’ve taken without a six or seven figure supreme court case and the media behind it?

    Here’s a novel idea:
    Maybe instead of sending money to another nation (that may or may not be in bridled in a war that we may or may not have started), you could use that $620,000 to fund more mental health programs of which it’s difficult to even get an appointment to. Maybe instead of giving people housing that don’t even live in this state yet you can take care of the mental health of the people that live in the state. Maybe you could lower taxes and fees and bring good jobs into the state. All of those things will help the mental health of the people living here and stop those heinous crimes from occurring to begin with.

    Instead they drive us nuts with this flipping nonsense.

    Just to put it out there and make sure everybody remembers:

    Amendment I:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Amendment II:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Amendment III:
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The definition of probable cause is:
    n. sufficient reason based upon known facts to believe a crime has been committed or that certain property is connected with a crime

    Notice the tense on probable cause, “has been committed” it is not “might be committed”.

    What part of “shall not be infringed” and what part of “shall not be violated” do they not understand?

    They’re not trying to protect those 87 people no matter what heartstrings they pull on you they are attempting to disarm you so that they can impose more dystopian/draconian measures just like they demonstrated in the last 2 years.

    I think that the people who voted for this should have all of their possessions forcefully taken from them by the people, so that they get reminded of why individual rights are so important, SINCE THEY CONVENIENTLY FORGET IT EVERY TIME THEY VOTE.

    And for the record my text above IS covered under amendment 1.

  6. I could say more to these out of state liberals but I’ll just say ” BRING IT ON FOOLS” I paid for my guns and property and no IDIOT NUMBNUTS are going to take what’s mine PERIOD !!! I’m a true VERMONTER and will not be control by mindless wonders. .

  7. Enforce the existing firearm laws as they exist and the matter will vanish protecting the those that process and use firearms legally and properly as history has proven !

  8. Enforce existing laws as presented historically and the gun issues will vanish and preserve historical rights for the majority.

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