by Guy Page
S30, prohibiting possession of firearms within hospital buildings, passed the Vermont House today, Friday, January 28.
Less than 100 representatives voted in favor of the bill, giving supporters some hope it could be stopped by a gubernatorial veto. Vetos can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of 100 members.
It’s unclear whether Gov. Phil Scott will attempt to veto S30. When asked, Gov. Scott’s press secretary Jason Maulucci Thursday afternoon told Vermont Daily Chronicle: “the Governor has said he’s not opposed to considering proposals that would close the ‘Charleston loophole,’ however, since signing gun safety reforms in 2018, he believes new restrictions aren’t needed and that we should instead focus on improving underlying causes of violence. The bill still has a long way to go through the legislative process, and we’ll continue to monitor its movements.”
As approved by the House, S30 makes carrying firearms on hospital property a criminal offense, extends to up to 30 days the waiting period for firearm sales, and allows a health care provider to report to police a patient deemed threatening due to firearms. The bill now will go back to the Senate for reconciliation of changes made the House.
The bill received preliminary “second reading” House approval Thursday, January 27. The roll call vote was 97-49. One Republicans Peter Fagan of Rutland and Scott Beck of St. Johnsbury voted in favor. Democrat Henry Pearl (Danville) voted no.
Today’s final vote, also known as “third reading,” was 93-47 in favor. It was a ‘division’ vote, in which the votes are tallied without being matched with the legislators’ names.