2-3-16 – Gun Rights in Montpelier’s Crosshairs

Posted by Rob Roper

Gun Rights opponents are getting bolder and more aggressive in Vermont. Despite the fact that this is an election year, something that usually deters discussion of these issues in our rural, sportsmen’s oriented state, several pieces of legislation are moving forward with a surprising amount of support.

The most visible bills are in regard to Burlington’s request for charter changes that would allow the city to make mandatory “safe” storage (H.566), give police authority to confiscate firearms from people suspected of domestic violence (H.567), and prohibit firearms on the premises of places that serve alcohol (H.568). These bills are sponsored by 28, 30 and 29 Representatives respectively (click on the respective links to see who).

Speaking at the House Republican Caucus meeting on February 2, Ron Hubert (R-Milton) of the Government Operations Committee where these bills are being considered, said that their passage would “gut the Sportsman’s Bill of Rights.” They are also, he warned, unconstitutional. If challenged in court, the State of Vermont could be looking at $12 million in legal costs defending – and losing – cases brought in response should these bills become law.

Hubert also went on to describe some of other absurd (and alarming), unintended consequences these charter changes could bring about for people hosting weddings or other such events at their homes, golfing, or even strolling casually down Church Street. (Watch the VIDEO for details.)

Related to the Burlington Charter Change bills is another, H.R. 11, sponsored by Rep. Tim Jerman (D-Essex), that would “allow municipal charter bills to be read three times without referral to committee.” That’s Montpelier-speak for cutting out public input. Gun Owners of Vermont points out that Jerman has taken $1700 from GunSense VT, an anti-Second Amendment organization.

Two other bills getting some attention are H.709, sponsored by Tom Stevens (D-Waterbury and George Till (D-Jericho), that “proposes to require an insurer that writes homeowner’s insurance policies to require a policyholder to disclose to the company whether the homeowner or member of his or her household possesses a gun that is stored on the insured property.” And H.775, sponsored by Rep. Till and 22 others, that “require that a criminal background check be conducted on the proposed purchaser before a firearm may be sold unless the sale is between immediate family members, by or to a law enforcement agency, or by or to a law enforcement officer or  member of the U.S. Armed Forces acting within the course of his or her official duties.”

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Eddie Cutler February 3, 2016 at 11:40 pm

Great article Rob
Well said representative Don Hubert (R-Milton)
These charter changes were voted down last year in committee 11-1 because they were unconstitutional. Rep Joana Cole decided to change a few words it was brought up again. Guess what they are still unconstitutional.
During this whole thing the city counsel and the Mayor had violated the Vermont open meeting law on multiple occasions Lied about what the changes actually mean and turned them in too criminal penalties wit 90 days in jail and $1,000 to $2,500 fines.
When asked about the penalties they said they would not enforce that. If they were not going to enforce it why did the council write it into the changes.
Ed Cutler
Gun Owners of Vermont.


Clayton Kip February 4, 2016 at 1:29 am

We live in the safest state in the country even without gun laws. Our children are for the most part taught gun safety and shooting at an early age. Guns are not an issue yet the liberal hopolophobes seem to think guns are an issue and waste their time and taxpayers money trying to fix a non-existent problem. Perhaps they should try living in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore or any other city with strict gun laws just to see how effective that legislation is before they try it here.


Mark Sniatkowski February 4, 2016 at 3:59 pm
Jim ackerman February 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm

If we look at the gun related crimes in the last 5 years in Vermont the vast majority can be linked to 2 things.. Drugs or mental illness.. The mental illness issue is a very difficult
One to tackle.. The drug related gun crimes on the other hand need to be handled with severe penalties.. Enough of the “mamby pamby” catch & release legal system..


Bruce Reid February 5, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Some PLEASE tell Rep. Hubert the object he is speaking about is a “firearm” not a
“WEAPON”. It is not a weapon until it is called upon to fulfill that duty. JFC we sound like “them” when he does that.


Robert Rich February 6, 2016 at 1:10 am

It should be clear to everyone watching that activists both in Burlington’s city government and in the Vermont Legislature are trying their best to abridge and curtail our rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment and Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution.

These measures are being proposed under the guise of “common sense gun laws.” But the truth is both the measures and their proponents defy common sense in a state with among the least restrictive gun laws and the very lowest violent crime rate in the country.

For instance, Rep. Thomas Stevens of Waterbury, having been in Vermont just 20 years is trying to take away rights that have protected us for over 225 years. He and Rep. George Till of Jericho have sponsored H.709, which would force you to report any guns you own to your insurance company.

Mr. Stevens did not reply to email asking the reasoning behind his bill, but by all appearances it is merely a backdoor gun registry scheme. And if passed, it would stigmatize lawful gun owners as well as discourage Vermonters from owning guns.

A common sense gun law? Hardly. We already have those.

We are facing very real problems, including unsustainable state spending, per pupil education spending 80% higher than the national average, and Vermont being the 5th worst state for making a living. It is time we asked ourselves who put us there, and why we keep returning them to office.

In the upcoming election we must choose between people who will work diligently to solve our real problems and activists wanting to solve imaginary problems by confiscating our rights and freedoms and turning them over to Montpelier. It should be an easy choice.


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