Hi all, Eric here with your weekly update on the happenings under the digital dome.
H.133 (gun confiscation for RFAs) continues to see action in the House Judiciary Committee with GoVT giving testimony on Tuesday Feb 9th. Video of the hearing can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2QI6Yu5CM4 and our written testimony can be viewed here https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/document/2022/18/Date/2-4-2021#documents-section with supplemental testimony here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/document/2022/18/Date/2-9-2021#documents-section
As it stands, we oppose this bill and rather than type 2000-word explanation in this column, I would just recommend taking 20 minutes to watch the video of the hearing linked above. I’m the first speaker so you don’t have to search for it thru all of the other testimonies. The committee plans to take this up again on Wednesday at 9:00 and GoVT is scheduled to be back, along with the Federation and Vermont Traditions Coalition, both of whom we work closely with on all bills. This is currently the only gun bill seeing committee action but that could change at any time.
The other thing that we have been hearing a lot of concern over lately (and rightly so) is the renewed push for gun control at the federal level. We apologize that we couldn’t publish everyone’s post on our Facebook page about President Biden’s call for gun control on the anniversary of the Parkland shooting, but there was literally a dozen or so submissions and it’s just annoyingly redundant after the first few. GoVT has traditionally focused more on state level legislation as that is where we have the most influence, however we certainly do not dismiss the threat of Federal gun control and keep a close eye on that as well.
It’s important to remember that posturing is a big part of the game these people play; it would almost be a surprise not to see them grandstanding on the anniversary of the Parkland shooting (which ironically was a travesty compounded by bad gun laws and government incompetence, but I digress.) Posturing and proposing ridiculous, off the wall gun bills is different than having the votes to pass them and there are still a lot of folks in Congress who don’t have that kind of appetite for gun control, even if they might have a D next to their name, which is a perfect segue to my next and most repeated talking point.
You will hear us say all the time that Gun Owners of Vermont is a non-partisan organization, and we mean it. Obviously, the bulk of the hostility towards private gun ownership comes from one party which currently enjoys a majority on both the Federal and State levels. You can file that under: “Duh.” The problem is, we have been tricked into believing that ALL members of BOTH parties must vote a certain way on guns and that simply is not true, especially in Vermont.
Vermont is a unique political animal. We are a small state composed of a diverse group of people from many different parts of the country, and many politicians -for better or worse- will cross party lines on certain issues here, specifically guns. Some of our strongest allies in the legislature are lifelong Democrats. Some of the GoVT board members are even dreaded “flatlanders” from New Jersey who moved here for the chill lifestyle and (until recently) complete lack of gun laws. Likewise, our biggest defeat came via the betrayal of a lifelong Republican who campaigned for Governor on the promise to preserve gun rights.
The point is that stereotypes don’t fit in this state and divisive partisan rhetoric will only continue to harm our cause. The undisputed right to keep and bear arms has long been an issue that’s transcended partisan politics in Vermont, and we aim to keep it that way. Regardless of our views on other topics, we are all here rallied around 2A/Article 16 for the same reason. Continued, mutual cooperation with our allies, regardless of party, is essential if we want to preserve our rights and restore those that have been lost.
Lastly, I would remind everyone that GoVT is a non-profit organization which relies exclusively on volunteer help to accomplish our mission. You can help by making sure your friends and family are registered to vote, contacting your local reps, and talking to your neighbors. We encourage everyone to be good ambassadors of the gun culture and that takes a conscious, team effort. You can also help out by becoming an official member here: https://tinyurl.com/GoVT-Membership
We appreciate you all and stay tuned for more updates, info, and analysis.