1-18-16 – Keeping An Eye on Gun Legislation

by Rob Roper

The three pieces of Burlington charter change legislation pertaining to gun rights are back before the legislature and have been referred to the House Government Operations Committee. The bills are:

H.568: “…would prohibit a person from possessing a firearm on premises where alcohol is licensed to be served.”

H.567: “…would allow a police officer to confiscate temporarily a deadly or dangerous weapon from a person whom the officer has probable cause to believe has committed domestic assault.”

H.566: “…would require that when a firearm is not in a person’s immediate possession or control, it must be locked in a safe storage depository or, by using a locking device, rendered incapable of being fired.”

Gun Sense Vermont, the Bloomberg sponsored anti-second amendment organization, stated last month in a Seven Days article that they did not anticipate playing a role in supporting passage of new gun laws in this election-year legislative session, and there are no posts regarding the Burlington Charter Change bills on their website as of yet.

However, Ann Braden, founder of Gun Sense Vermont was quoted as saying, “We’re definitely expecting to be involved in the election, supporting candidates who take a stand in support of gun violence prevention.” Keeping their powder dry (excuse the pun) to pass unpopular laws in a non-election year.

All three Charter Change bills are sponsored by every Burlington Representative — but absolutely no one else. Of interest here is Rep. Kesha Ram (D-Burlington), who is now a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

Earlier this year, Ram ran away from her sponsorship of a bill that would place a hefty statewide Carbon Tax on the burning of fossil fuels, such as gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas, and heating oil, when she realized that what may play well in Burlington doesn’t necessarily resonate elsewhere. It would be curious to see if Rep. Ram plans to stick by her support of these anti-gun measures now that she has statewide ambitions.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott January 18, 2016 at 2:16 pm

A firearm locked up is pretty useless as a home defense weapon. Perhaps a better result would be achieved by making firearm safety mandatory in schools


Weiland A. Ross January 23, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Proposed H568 & H567 appear to be legitimate in their intent to prevent gun violence, especially H567. Most police will tell you that responding to domestic violence calls is in several ways potentially more dangerous than most other calls—-to begin with, it is a “given” that someone is already angry and the altercation has escalated to the point that the police were summoned. In that situation, the weapon is likely to be in the hands of someone already at a high level of excitability, which gives the situation a heightened potential for violence. If the confiscation of the weapon is temporary, pending resolution of the situation, it should not be a problem.

Proposed H566 is silly on its’ surface. A locked gun has no value for protection.
Likewise, it is impossible to enforce, even partially, without a hugely cumbersome
legal apparatus being put in place and an impossibly large number of enforcers
being hired to prowl the streets and home, Kill it.


Mark Donka January 26, 2016 at 4:05 pm

H567 is a slippery slope on taking a gun without a court order. This in itself violates the 4 amendment. I know as an officer if I respond to a domestic call and a firearm is involved I will secure it and make it safe while at the residence. But my concern is how far will this bill go. Does it mean if we respond to a Domestic and many are just yelling and the neighbors call do we take every gun. Even if no threat of violence with or without a gun was made? Then we get into the situation as to who owns the gun. We need to be careful when we pass “blanket bills” . If a judge orders the removal of firearms it is one thing but having the officer being mandated to taking guns is violating constitutional laws,


DR January 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm

I don’t see how H568 could be considered legitimate in its intent to prevent gun violence.

First, it assumes that anyone who has a sip of alcohol has the tendency to immediately lose control and start acting out violently, using whatever weapon is at hand. I am unaware of any shootouts in Vermont bars, restaurants, golf courses, etc., so it is seeking to remedy a problem that simply doesn’t exist.

The recent shooting on Church St. was between two known criminals, who would not otherwise have obeyed the law in any case.

But even beyond that, think about the consequences of the law even if applied within Burlington. The law would exclude people from carrying firearms in any bar of course, but also in any restaurant that happened to serve any beer or wine on the menu. It would also apply to any hotel with a restaurant, such as the Radisson, so no travelers could bring a firearm with them and stay at the Radisson or even park in the parking lot.

Private clubs such as the American Legion, VFW, etc. have liquor licenses, so one could not even have a firearm locked in one’s car in their parking lot, as this is on the “premises”.

But how about this? The Burlington airport is owned by the City of Burlington, even though it is in South Burlington. So under this law, anyone who enters onto the airport “premises” with a rifle, shotgun, etc. in a locked container that they are legally traveling with would be in violation of the law.

NO ONE would be able to fly in our out of Vermont if they are going on a hunting trip or even had a permit from any other state to legally carry a pistol and complied with all the federal requirements for traveling with a firearm.

Think about if this was applied to the state as a whole. Want to go bowling? Can’t even keep a firearm in your car if the alley has a bar. Golfing? Nope, can’t keep a firearm in the car in the parking lot. Virtually any hotel of any size? Nope – you’re banned if you have a firearm. The local library or art gallery or museum is having an opening or an event with catering? Again…you’re banned from even parking in the lot if you have a firearm.

Sorry, but this does not “prevent gun violence” in any way. Not even the most tortured logic could make any connection between this law and the “prevention of gun violence”.


jim bulmer January 23, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Ram.another screamig liberal. Where are the old fashioned rock ribbed Republicans who made Vermont great???? Oh for a burcanstock franchise.


Doug Wright March 12, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Re: H.567, if I have probable cause to believe someone has committed domestic assault, they’re going to be arrested. If a gun is involved, I’m taking taking temporary possession of it as evidence and/or officer safety. Once the arrest has been made, the immediate threat has been neutralized allowing the victim time to request a protective order (which almost always requires surrender of firearms) or the officer to contact a judge to request seizure of weapons. We don’t need H.567 to do what needs to be done.

VT is the safest state in the country regarding violent crime. With the heroin epidemic, serious economic issues, affordability of living in VT and so many other pressing problems do we really need to spend time and resources on H. 566, H.567, and H. 568? And how many of our “progressive” legislators that support H. 568 also support legalizing marijuana for recreational use?


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