Editorial: 2-3-16 Gun Rights in Montpelier’s Crosshairs

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, Don 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


Original: Gun Rights in Montpelier’s Crosshairs