Editor: this gun rights overview of the 2022 session of the Vermont Legislature was submitted by the National Rifle Association.
Much of the early session was consumed with S30, which started out as a firearms carry location restriction. It was amended multiple times, and the final version applied only to hospitals (prohibiting guns), but it did contain red-flag language and a 30-day waiting period on NICS delayed transfers. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott who said he would not agree to a waiting period of that length.
Lawmakers knew they were short the votes necessary to override a veto, so they did a “strike all” on another bill (S4) and passed a 7-day waiting period on NICS delayed transfers. The Governor eventually signed that bill despite opposition.
There were a couple bright spots. The Legislature passed S184 by Sen. Joe Benning (R) to correct a problem created by a bill last year that amended the justifiable homicide statute and ended protections for coming to the aid of someone who is under threat of death or great bodily harm. S184 reversed last year’s actions and reestablished legal protections for coming to the aid of others.
Lawmakers also amended S281 which started out as an anti-hunting bill. The bill was amended to regulate coyote hunting the same way bear hound hunting is regulated.
More importantly, an amendment was added that allows suppressor hunting in Vermont. Even though the provision sunsets in two years, it was a major victory secured by NRA A+ rated Rep. Pat Brennan (R-Colchester) who has fought tirelessly on this issue for several years.