Roll Call! Senate Votes to Study Banning Firearms in Capitol (19-10), 2021


in the State Senate
on March 18, 2021, by a vote of

Purpose: The original S.30 bill calls for banning guns in Vermont hospitals. This roll call is over whether or not to include a study on making Vermont’s Capitol safer from gun violence.

The Capitol Complex Security Advisory Committee, formed in 2017, would study “how we currently regulate state buildings in the Capitol Complex… (in which)… people (who) impermissibly possessed firearms, and how those situations were handled.” Finally, the Committee would “make recommendations about security and firearms within the capitol complex” to the Legislature before December 1, 2021. It is possible that legislators will find “stronger prohibitions on firearms” in Montpelier to be necessary during the 2022 legislative session.

Analysis: Those voting YES point to “multiple state capitols taken over, in effect, by groups of heavily armed men wearing tactical gear and body armor,” implying that Montpelier could be soon added to the list. “A busload of (Vermont) enthusiasts” attended the DC rally in which the US Capitol was invaded, suggesting that Vermonters were closely aligned with those involved in the invasion. They also reference the “militia training camp in West Pawlet” that was only recently shut down, implying that the militia group was connected to white supremacists. This bill will make state legislators and other workers in the Complex feel safer from such threats.

Those voting NO believe the laws and security are already adequate for protecting the Montpelier Capitol. Such a study for creating new gun laws would be redundant. The Commissioner of Buildings and General Services, Commissioner of Public Safety and the Chief of the Capitol Police testified they do not need a another criminal statute prohibiting firearms in the Statehouse because there are signs out front that say “no weapons.” If someone ignores that warning, Capitol Police already have the right to escort them off the property and if they resist, Capitol Police already have the ability to cite them for the criminal offense of unlawful trespass. The “capitol complex” is not merely the “state house and the front lawn.” It covers a much wider area including “all of the government buildings several private residences as well as areas of parking lots and at least two hotels.”

As Recorded in the Senate Journal, Thursday, March 18, 2021: “Thereupon, the bill was amended as recommended in Sec. 2 on a roll call, Yeas 19, Nays 10.” (Read the Journal, p.247 - 249). 

View the floor debate on YouTube.

How They Voted

Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – NO
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – NO
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Thomas Chittenden (D-Chittenden) – YES
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – ABSENT
Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) – YES
Cheryl Hooker (D-Rutland) – YES
Russ Ingalls (R-Essex-Orleans) – NO
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – NO
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Corey Parent (R-Franklin) – NO
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) – YES
Andrew Perchlik (D-Washington) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D-Washington) – YES
Kesha Ram (D-Chittenden) – YES
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Joshua Terenzini (R-Rutland) –NO
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – NO
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – NO

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