You might have noticed we skipped the weekly updates last week and that’s mostly because the legislature was off this whole last week and not much to report.
Unfortunately, just because they are off doesn’t mean that they stop scheming on how to take your rights away and I think we can expect them to pick up right where they left off.
Before they went on break, some changes were made to S.30 which currently sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The new version of the bill strikes all the previous wording and establishes a single new criminal punishment for carrying a gun inside a hospital. The new version of the bill can be viewed here: S.30~Erik Fitzpatrick~ Draft 1.1, 2-19-2021 Sears, Baruth Strike all Amendment.pdf
The new version also includes a provision for a “study” to be conducted to determine if the policy prohibiting firearms at the Statehouse is sufficient or if it needs to be “strengthened” through legislation. The committee reviewed the changes on Friday Feb 26th and the discussion can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x62TsKp3a84 No further action has been scheduled on the bill at this time but as of this writing the committee agenda is wide open for the second half of the week and it wouldn’t be surprising if this bill saw some more discussion and a possible vote soon.
Over in the lower chamber, the House Judiciary Committee led by Maxine Grad (Moretown) and Martin LaLonde (Burlington) blazes forward with their latest crusade to take guns without due process, despite any objections from interested parties. As always, our presence in that committee seems as it’s been largely for show. GoVT has testified a few times on this bill and our testimony can be viewed here: H.133~Eric Davis~Gun Owners of Vermont Testimony~2-4-2021.pdf
Here: H.133~Eric Davis~Gun Owners of Vermont Supplemental Testimony~2-9-2021.pdf
And here: H.133~Eric Davis~Witness Testimony~2-18-2021.pdf
To give you the cliff notes on this bill, it basically says that the court can order a person subject to a temporary Relief From Abuse order (or RFA) to relinquish their firearms and they may do so “ex-parte’” – which means without notice to the defendant. There are a lot of moving parts to this one so we encourage folks to read the linked testimony for more details. Testimony from VTC and VTFSC can also be viewed on the committee page by searching the committee documents by the bill number H.133. This bill is scheduled for committee discussion and a possible vote first thing when they return on Tuesday.
Should either the House or Senate bills pass out of committee, they then head to the floor of their respective chamber for consideration.
The Joint Rules Committee set the date for crossover this year for this Friday, March 12. Bills must be voted out of their committee of origin by crossover to be considered by the other chamber this session.
We are encouraging everyone to contact the members of these committees as well as your personal Reps and Senators who may not be in these committees and ask them politely to take no action this session on firearms but keep their promise to focus their efforts on recovery from the crazy year we just had (and are still having.) Remind them that we are currently not being allowed the access to our government that is customary in Vermont and therefore, contentious issues as such should at minimum, be tabled for further discussion when we can return to the Statehouse.
If you need help finding your legislators, please comment, message, or email firstname.lastname@example.org We are happy to help put you in contact with your elected officials anytime.
Lastly, I’ll close as I always do by reminding everyone that you can help out tremendously by becoming an official member of GoVT here: https://gunownersofvermont.org/about-us/join-us/ We are an all-volunteer, grassroots organization and every little bit helps.
Feel free to give us a shout with any questions and stay tuned for more news, info, and analysis. In the meantime, we’ll keep fighting the good fight. Thanks for the support!