By Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott said at yesterday’s press conference his administration will take steps to “cut off” drug-related gun violence “at its source,” but he won’t outline what those steps are.
Scott did say that existing juvenile confidentiality and expungement laws make it harder to track young Vermonters being used as mules or other foot soldiers in the state’s drug trade.
Vermont Daily Chronicle: Six of seven gun homicides in the last six months in Vermont are related to drug crime. What is the state planning to do to reduce drug-related gun crime problems?
Scott: Building these cases isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes a long period of time to gather all the information, to make sure that we’re getting to the root of the problem. It’s not the the selling or the buying of drugs on the street that is the issue. It’s how the system is working – where is it coming from, and how do we cut off that source.
It takes a lot of effort, a lot of people, a lot of law enforcement to build a case to be sure that we can be effective. It seems as though every time we take someone off the street, there’s always somebody else to replace that person.
While I’m at it, I do feel that we have to take a look at what we’re doing in the state in terms of expungement of records. If there are youth that are involved in the illicit drug trafficking and are being used as mules, we never know about it if they’re not prosecuted or if their records are expunged.
We have to look at this holistically and figure out, how do we stop this from happening? Because it is growing. You’re right, there is a lot of gun activity that we’re seeing that is directly related to this illicit drug trafficking. So we are doing all we can, but we intend to do more, and I’m not going to communicate how that is, but we intend to do more.